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U.S. DOJ confirms civil rights investigation into Jacob Blake shooting

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 4:56 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON. (WMTV) - The U.S. Dept. of Justice confirmed it has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot by a Kenosha police officer over the weekend.

In a statement Wednesday, the agency explained the FBI will work with the state Dept. of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and state authorities to conduct the investigation.

DCI is leading the local investigation into the shooting. The federal investigation will run parallel to it and will share information with state authorities.

U.S. Attorney for Eastern Wisconsin Matthew Krueger and Asst. Atty. Gen. for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband stated their departments will oversee the investigation.

They also echoed Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely in urging people to withhold judgement until the investigation is completed and to act peacefully.

On Wednesday, Kaul released new details about the shooting, identifying the officer as Ofc. Rusten Shesky and saying that Blake told officers he had a knife in his possession.

Sunday’s shooting led to violent protests in Kenosha that turned deadly Tuesday night when two people were killed and another wounded. Gov. Tony Evers has activated members of the National Guard to assist local law enforcement and since doubled the deployment twice, to the point 500 soldiers are currently available. More than 200 federal agents from multiple agencies were also dispatched to Wisconsin.

It also prompted an outcry nationally, including from the Milwaukee Bucks, whose refusal to come out of their locker room for a playoff game led to the league canceling all games that day. The Brewers opted not to play as well. In all, three MLB games were canceled because of player protests.

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