As a consultant, retired Madison Police Chief Noble Wray seems like an excellent choice to review the state’s investigation into the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha on August 23.
Wray was introduced in Kenosha on Monday, just as the ongoing probe was marking one month.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul gave no timetable but said the probe is “in the final stages” and the file would be “turned over soon.”
Wray, who retired from the Madison post in 2013, will review and analyze the final Department of Justice report and then give his findings to Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley.
Graveley will make the final decision on whether criminal charges should be brought against Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey or the two other officers involved in the shooting — Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek.
All three officers have been on administrative leave since the shooting, which set off several days of both peaceful protests, and violent riots and civil unrest. Damage to businesses and the community has been estimated in the tens of millions.
While the additional review at the state level is a positive development, the lack of a timetable is a negative to a community on edge. An open-ended investigation and an open-ended review then leads to an open-ended final decision. Kenosha is a community still largely boarded up, with destruction visible at many turns and with a great need for state and federal money fast. And it’s a community still concerned about state support at the outside of the rioting and worried further what support will be here when a decision on this case is announced. Many Kenosha residents are talking about what Lynda Ruffolo discussed at the city’s first listening session on Sept. 20. She shared her concern about the future safety of the community with the Blake and later Kyle Rittenhouse cases still pending.
“What is the plan to stop this (rioting) from happening again when the verdicts some out … what is the plan to be put in place in the meantime,” she said.
To date it’s been defending the state’s response, or criticizing it depending on your politics. But the next response, and the next one, will be critical for this community, and every single elected official should understand that.
Why this investigation is taking the DOJ this long already is a question many have. The now added review is another question and leads many to think this is a delaying tactic.
We hope that is proven wrong and the probe and then Wray’s review move swiftly, and
Graveley announces his decision soon. A lot is on hold in this community, which needs to move forward.
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