On Wednesday evening (Aug. 26), the U.S. Department of Justice opened a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers. Fox 6 Milwaukee also reports that the shooting officer has been identified as seven-year department veteran Rusten Sheskey. Furthermore, Blake reportedly told DOJ officials “that he had a knife in his possession” when he was confronted by police.
According to Fox 6, Kenosha officers were responding to a call from a woman who said her boyfriend was trespassing on her property on Sunday (Aug. 23). Officers attempted to arrest Blake, who witnesses said had just broken up a fight. When Blake moved to get into the driver’s seat of his car, Officer Sheskey shot him seven times in the back. Blake’s three young children were sitting in the backseat.
Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation agents have since recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s car. No other weapons were found inside his vehicle. The Kenosha Police Department does not use body cameras and therefore no officer was wearing one. Instead, video of the horrific incident was captured by a witness.
Blake received medical attention at the scene and was transported to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. His father previously told reporters that he has “eight holes” in his body and is partially paralyzed.
All officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
“Federal authorities are committed to investigating this matter as thoroughly and efficiently as possible,” a press release from the DOJ reads. “Along with Attorney General Kaul and District Attorney Graveley, United States Attorney Krueger and Assistant Attorney General Dreiband urged all members of the community to allow the investigation processes to develop all available evidence before rendering judgment. They also encouraged everyone to act peacefully and abide by the law.”
The investigation will be carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin DCI and state officials and will be overseen by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After the DCI concludes its investigation, their report will be turned over to a prosecutor, the DOJ’s release adds.
“DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days,” it reads. “The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.”