Federal investigators launch civil rights probe into Jacob Blake’s shooting

The police officer who shot him seven times in the back has been identified and placed on administrative leave.

Demonstrators chant and march in Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite the city’s state of emergency curfew. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Sunday’s police shooting of 29-year-old father of five Jacob Blake has prompted a civil rights probe by the federal government. 

The investigation will be led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. It will be overseen by prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division.

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“Federal authorities are committed to investigating this matter as thoroughly and efficiently as possible,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a statement. 

Their response also addressed unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Blake was shot seven times in the back: “Federal law enforcement is joined with state and local authorities to address further violence in Kenosha and beyond. Federal law imposes stiff penalties for arson, rioting, firearms offenses, and other violent crimes,” which officials “pledged to prosecute to the fullest extent possible.”

Jacob Blake Kenosha police shooting thegrio.com
Jacob Blake was shot seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. His father will address attendees of Friday’s “March on Washington.” (Photo: Handout)

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Blake, who underwent a series of surgeries after the confrontation three of his young sons witnessed, was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Kenosha Police have identified the officer who shot him as Officer Rusten Sheskey, who has been employed by the department for seven years. He is currently on administrative leave. 

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Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kabul said his department will continue to provide the public with “information to the extent that we believe is appropriate and consistent with protecting the integrity of the investigation.” 

“Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back,” the state agency said in a news release. “No other officer fired their weapon. Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras.”

Individuals with firsthand information to report regarding the incident should contact FBI Milwaukee at (414) 276-4684.

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Kenosha, the fourth largest city in Wisconsin, has become the latest site for mass protest and widespread unrest following Blake’s shooting. Officials have placed it under a 7 p.m. curfew, which demonstrators have defied nightly. 

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency and has deployed 250 members of the National Guard to support law enforcement efforts to maintain peace. 

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