29.09.2022

Authorities extend investigation into police shooting of Jacob Blake

Former Madison police chief Noble Wray said at a press conference on Monday that the investigation “will be a moment of truth” for Wisconsin, and that the outcome of the case has not been predetermined.

An independent consultant has been appointed to investigate the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

While the investigation will continue to be led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the final investigative file would be handed over to Mr Wray for expert analysis in recommendation of a charging decision.

Mr Blake, 29, was shot in the back by police officer Rusten Sheskey on 23 August, leaving him paralyzed and the city of Kenosha in a state of civil unrest.

Mr Wray said he is acting as a subject matter expert in both policing and the use of force, and that he would be reviewing the investigation’s witness statements, forensic evidence and video footage.

“It’s broader than use of force, you know that when it all comes down to it, that single incident that you see out there is a whole host of things that a department does,” Mr Wray said.

District attorney Michael Gravely, who appointed Mr Wray, said a copy of the DCI’s investigative file would be shared with Mr Wray for his expert analysis on how the facts of the case line up with standard police practices.

Mr Wray would not be conducting any additional investigations other than analysis of the evidence provided by the Kenosha authorities.

“No predeterminations have been made, but I believe chief Wray is really ideally situated to bring a diverse and abundant set of perspectives of what now needs to be thought about,” Mr Gravely said.

District attorney Michael Gravely, who appointed Mr Wray, said a copy of the DCI’s investigative file would be shared with Mr Wray for his expert analysis on how the facts of the case line up with standard police practices.

Mr Wray would not be conducting any additional investigations other than analysis of the evidence provided by the Kenosha authorities.

“No predeterminations have been made, but I believe chief Wray is really ideally situated to bring a diverse and abundant set of perspectives of what now needs to be thought about,” Mr Gravely said.

Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul said he identified the retired police chief at the request of the district attorney, based on his extensive experience as a police reform specialist for the US Department of Justice.

“I am confident that Chief Wray will provide a thoughtful and fair analysis of this case,” Mr Kaul said.

When asked about his reaction to the shooting, Mr Wray said the video was “graphic”.

“But I have not prejudged the case, and I know as an experienced investigator that you may hear something or see something, or someone may report something to you, and then after you look at the full weight and body of the investigaiton, you realize it may not be exactly what you thought at the beginning,” Mr Wray said.

“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.”

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