KENOSHA, Wisconsin (Nation Now) – The Wisconsin attorney general announced Monday that a former police chief in Madison, Wisconsin, will serve as an independent consultant for prosecutors deciding to lay charges against the officers involved in the shooting in Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police officers on August 23; the incident was filmed by a passerby. The shooting sparked further protests in cities across the country against racial injustice.
Noble Wray, the expert who will review the case, is Black. Following his retirement as Madison’s Police Chief in 2013, Wray received national attention for his work on police reform, tackling racism, and raising awareness of implicit bias. Wray was Chief for nine years and worked 30 years as a police officer, an experience that Attorney General Josh Kaul and Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely said would be crucial when reviewing the case.
“I’m from Wisconsin and this is Wisconsin’s moment of truth,” Wray said. “I want the best for this state and the people of this state. “
Gravely said he asked for the consultant but asked the Justice Department to choose.
Kaul said his department’s investigation into the shooting was in its final stages. When that is done, he will return it to Wray for review and analysis. It will then be up to Gravely to decide whether to file a complaint. Gravely said Monday he had not yet made a decision on laying charges.
Gravely said Wray would bring “diverse” and “abundant” perspectives to the case.
Wray said he would provide an overview and perspective on the case, but not prejudge it. Wray said he would complete his review as soon as possible, but he was not given a timeline once he received the investigation file. Wray said he had no prejudices about the case and believed neither was the state.
“It should be a fair and impartial investigation, it shouldn’t come across as something that is prejudiced or that decisions have already been made,” Wray said. “I was more than satisfied with the prosecutor’s answers, I was comforted by the fact that I did not believe a decision had been made. I don’t want to waste my time when I think a decision has already been made.
The state’s Justice Department also said it would not announce a decision on whether the officer would face charges until the investigation was completed.
The three officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave during the investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is standard practice.
The Attorney General of Wisconsin said police were dispatched to the neighborhood after a woman reported her boyfriend was there and he was not supposed to be there.
Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said Blake was trying to end a family dispute.
The Justice Department said a knife was recovered from an SUV Blake is said to have leaned towards him when he was shot, but did not say if Blake was holding him when the police tried to stop him.
The man who filmed widely viewed cell phone video of the shooting, Raysean White, 22, said he saw Blake brawl with three police officers and heard them shout, ‘Drop the knife! Let go of the knife! Before gunshots broke out. He said he hadn’t seen a knife in Blake’s hands.
Crump said Blake’s children – ages 3, 5 and 8 – were inside the car at the time of the shooting.
Blake posted a video of her hospital bed earlier this month. Before that he appeared from her hospital bed via remote video for his first court appearance on a sexual assault charge unrelated to the August 23 shooting. He has pleaded not guilty and a trial date has been set for November 9.
Crump has previously said that he “take a miracle” for Blake to walk again. Crump said bullets pierced Blake’s spine and shattered one of his ribs, puncturing a lung, damaging his liver and creating holes in his stomach.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump visited Kenosha in the days following the unrest.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.