Jacob Blake

Jacob Blake Shooting: Wisconsin DOJ Issues New Statement, Names 2 Other Officers

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice issued a new statement early Friday on the investigation into the police shooting of Jacob Blake, detailing the investigative process and for the first time, naming two additional officers involved in the shooting.

The police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, began to unfold at around 5:11 p.m. Sunday, when officers responded to a domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street, Kenosha police said in a statement at the time.

The Wisconsin DOJ said Friday that Kenosha police responded to the scene "after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises."

The DOJ said officers "attempted to arrest" Blake and after an initial arrest attempt, Officer Rusten Sheskey used a taser in an "attempt to stop" Blake.

"When that attempt failed, Kenosha Police Officer Vincent Arenas also deployed his taser, however that taser was also not successful in stopping Mr. Blake," the DOJ's statement reads.

NBC News has not been able to independently confirm the information provided by Kenosha police or the Wisconsin DOJ.

Graphic video taken by a witness appeared to show an officer grab at Blake's shirt and shoot him in the back at least seven times as he leaned into a vehicle. That video was posted on social media and sparked outrage nationwide.

The DOJ's statement on Friday echoed what's shown in the video, noting Sheskey - who authorities had previously identified as the officer who shot Blake - fired his service weapon seven times into Blake's back while holding onto his shirt.

The Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, the DOJ noted.

The Wisconsin DOJ said Friday that Sheskey has been with the Kenosha Police Department for seven years, and Arenas since February 2019, previously working for the U.S. Capitol Police.

The Wisconsin DOJ also identified Kenosha Police Officer Brittany Meronek as the third officer at the scene. She joined the department in January of this year, officials said.

All three officers have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, authorities have previously said.

Blake's attorneys said during a news conference on Tuesday that the bullets struck Blake's spinal cord, resulting in the near-complete removal of his colon and small intestine, as well as damaging his kidney and liver.

Blake, according to family and attorneys, was paralyzed by the shooting but it remains unclear if that will be permanent. He remains hospitalized in Milwaukee.

"Because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle... for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again," Attorney Ben Crump said.

Blake "admitted that he had a knife in his possession" during the investigation into the shooting, the DOJ's statement reads, noting that agents found a knife on the driver's side floorboard of his vehicle. No other weapons were found in a search of the vehicle, officials said.

Blake's family and attorneys described him as a family man whose three sons were in the car at the time of the shooting, one of whom was celebrating a birthday.

"These little boys, these three little boys are going to have psychological problems for the rest of their lives," Crump said during a news conference alongside Blake's mother, father and three sisters. Blake's father added that the children "are stuck right now."

"All my grandson asks is, 'Why did police shoot my daddy in the back?'" said Jacob Blake Sr. "How would you feel if your white son walked up to you and asked, 'Why did police shoot my daddy in the back?' You would have no clue."

The Wisconsin DOJ said its Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting, assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, with all law enforcement agencies cooperating.

By law, all police-involved usage of firearms or any incident that results in the death of an individual during an interaction with police are automatically investigated by the DCI, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael D. Graveley said earlier in the week.

"DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation," the DOJ said Friday.

When the DCI completes its investigation, the evidence is then turned over to the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office. The DOJ said Friday that the DCI "aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days."

The DA's office is then tasked with determining whether the officers involved in the case committed any crimes, and whether those crimes can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If those standards are both fulfilled, then the DA’s office will file criminal charges, according to Graveley.

"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," the DOJ said Friday.

In laying out the stages of the investigation earlier this week, the DA emphasized the need for patience on the part of Kenosha citizens, saying that the DCI and the DA’s office must be given adequate time to complete a thorough investigation into the shooting.

“I ask for as much patience as our times allow,” he said. “We have to facilitate a full and complete investigation. I know DCI is doing all they can to accomplish that.”

Graveley also announced that the DA’s office has requested a full civil rights investigation into the shooting.

Kenosha has seen days of protests and unrest since Blake's shooting, with clashes not only between police and demonstrators but also as armed militia groups took to the streets of the Wisconsin city.

One of those conflicts turned deadly on Tuesday night, when three people were shot, two fatally. An Illinois teen has since been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

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