DOJ announces federal civil rights investigation into shooting of Jacob Blake


Jacob Blake (Photo provided by NewsNation affiliate WGN)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — 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, with 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 have been 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 George Floyd‘s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer touched off a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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