DOJ announces federal civil rights investigation into shooting of Jacob Blake

National

In this September 2019 selfie photo taken in Evanston, Ill., Adria-Joi Watkins poses with her second cousin Jacob Blake. He is recovering from being shot multiple times by Kenosha police on Aug. 23. (Courtesy Adria-Joi Watkins via AP)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday evening that a federal civil rights investigation has been opened into the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the weekend.

The FBI and Wisconsin authorities will conduct the investigation with oversight by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division.

Blake, 29, was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, three of his children seated inside. Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.

The officer who shot Blake was identified by state authorities as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department. Sheskey shot Blake while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a Taser, the Wisconsin Justice Department said.

State agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle, authorities said.

No charges were announced, and state officials continue to investigate.

On Tuesday, Ben Crump, the lawyer for Blake’s family, said it would “take a miracle” for Blake to walk again. He called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and for the others involved to lose their jobs.

The shooting was captured on cellphone video and ignited new protests in the U.S. three months after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer touched off a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden posted a video saying he had spoken with Blake’s parents and other family members.

“What I saw on that video makes me sick,” Biden said. “Once again, a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight, with the whole world watching.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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