Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul will hand the investigative file on the Jacob Blake shooting to former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray to review as a use-of-force expert, Kaul announced Monday night.
Kaul chose Wray to serve as a consultant on the case. Wray will provide insight on the case before the file goes to Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, who will make a decision on whether to charge the officers involved in the shooting.
"I am confident that Chief Wray will provide a thoughtful and fair analysis of the facts of this case," Kaul said Monday at a news conference.
Wray said he did not want to "pre-judge" the case and wanted "to provide insight as an officer, as a supervisor, as a police manager and as a subject matter expert that has dealt with these issues nationwide."
"Insight and perspective is what I'm here for," he added.
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Wray said he did not have a timeline for when his work would be finished on the case but he emphasized it was important to be thorough.
A Milwaukee native, Wray retired from the Madison Police Department in 2013 and served as a police reform specialist under the Obama administration's Department of Justice.
"He has analyzed cases involving use of force in cities around the country and he has reviewed use-of-force policies that agencies have around the country," Kaul said.
Graveley asked not to be involved in the selection of the consultant to ensure transparency. He said wanted the public to know there was not a "preselected outcome" in the case.
"I wanted the maximum confidence for whatever decision results in this case," he said.
Investigators at the state Department of Justice have not finished their investigation but are in the "final stages," Kaul said.
The announcement came nearly a month after Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back during an arrest, paralyzing him, on Aug. 23. The DOJ has since said a knife was found on the floorboard of the SUV Blake was trying to enter when he was shot.
It is not clear Blake held that knife during the confrontation with police, was reaching for it, dropped it in the car or was doing something else.
Sheskey has been on paid administrative leave along with officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek, both present at the time of the shooting.
The shooting set off days of protests, looting and violence in Kenosha and became a focal point in the national debate over how police treat people of color. The widespread outcry, largely driven by a viral cellphone video of the shooting, prompted both President Donald Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden to visit the city within days of each other.
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The DOJ generally aims to provide a report to county district attorneys within 30 days of a shooting by a law enforcement officer after reviewing evidence and conducting interviews.
Once the DOJ's investigation is complete, Kaul will hand the file to Wray, who will review it to make sure it aligns with standard police procedures, Kaul said.
After Wray, Graveley will review it and will decide if the shooting was legally justified and whether to charge Sheskey and the other officers involved. That process can take months.
If Graveley does not file charges, the state's investigative report will become available to the public. If charges are filed, the report would become part of the case file. If criminal charges aren't filed, officers could still face discipline from the department.
The DOJ's update Monday was its first since Sept. 1, when it said it had conducted more than 80 interviews and worked for more than 600 hours on the investigation.
Follow Sophie Carson on Twitter at @SCarson_News.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jacob Blake shooting: Wisconsin DOJ hires consultant to review case