Independent consultant will review police shooting of Jacob Blake

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley on Monday, Sept. 21 announced an independent consultant will review the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake -- Wisconsin native and retired Madison Police Chief Noble Wray.

In a news release, DOJ officials said  "having such an analysis prepared for the district attorney’s consideration will serve the interests of justice in this case."

Officer Rusten Sheskey, Jacob Blake

Officer Rusten Sheskey, Jacob Blake

Wray is being retained by Graveley, who had asked the DOJ to identify an outside consultant to maintain the independence of the investigation.

DOJ officials noted Monday the Blake shooting "has been vigorously and thoroughly investigated," with that investigation in its "final stages."

The investigative file will then go to Wray.

Jacob Blake

DOJ officials noted "while Division of Criminal Investigation investigations of officer-involved shooting cases contain reports regarding the relevant facts, they do not contain charging recommendations."

Wray's analysis will assist Graveley "in his review of the facts and their relationship with standard law enforcement practices as he makes a charging decision."

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"Noble Wray is a longtime Wisconsin resident and a widely respected retired Madison Police Chief who has extensive experience in law enforcement, including experience at the national level as a police reform specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice," said Kaul in the release.

Noble Wray

Noble Wray

"This should be a fair and impartial investigation," said Wray. "It should not come across as something that has been prejudged or the decisions have already been made."

Former Chief Wray, who also served as assistant chief of the Madison Police Department and officer, was deputy monitor in the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. 

"Once I receive (the DCI investigation), it is my intent to do a fair and impartial review, but complete, and to move with deliberate speed, as quickly as I possibly can," said Wray. "I'm from Wisconsin, and this is Wisconsin's moment of truth, and I want the best for this state and the people in this state."

"I ask you to please listen and consider him as an important additional aspect to this very important investigation," said Graveley.

Jacob Blake

When the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, the release noted DCI aims to provide its reports of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days.

In this case, Graveley has directed that those reports be forwarded to Wray "for review and analysis." Then, Graveley will confer with Wray, "review the reports of the investigation, and then make an independent determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate." 

If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Blake, and no other circumstances prevent the release, DCI will thereafter make the reports available to the public, the release said.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN, USA - AUGUST 24: Jacob Blake protesters lit buildings on fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States on August 24, 2020. A police shooting in the US state of Wisconsin sent a Black man into serious condition on Sunday, with the vide

The shooting of Blake, which was recorded on video, sparked protests and violence in Kenosha. Blake was shot seven times -- and left partially paralyzed.

Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, was the only officer who shot Blake, officials said. 

The Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras. Therefore, the officers were not wearing body cameras.

Blake "admitted that he had a knife in his possession," officials said. DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.


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