The Justice Department opened a federal civil rights investigation into police shooting of Jacob Blake

  • The US Department of Justice announced Wednesday that its Civil Rights Division had opened an investigation in the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
  • Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back in front of his children in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  • Eyewitnesses previously told Insider that Blake appeared to be checking to make sure his kids were safe.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating Blake's shooting, said in an initial account of the incident officers attempted to arrest Blake and deployed a Taser before he was shot. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A federal investigation has been launched into the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the US Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The investigation will be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Wisconsin state authorities, the department said in an August 26 press release, and will be overseen by prosecutors from the US Attorney's Office and the criminal section of DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man and father of three, was shot in the back by a Kenosha police officer seven times on Sunday as he tried to get into his car. Eyewitnesses told Insider that he appeared to be checking on the well-being of his three sons in the backseat.

"His kids are his priority," one eyewitness, neighbor Dan Stone, said in an interview. "He wanted to make his kids safe."

An attorney for Blake's family said he is now paralyzed and that it would "take a miracle" for him to ever walk again, the Associated Press reported.

The officer who shot Blake was identified Wednesday as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha police force. Police encountered Blake after they initially responded to a woman calling to report that her boyfriend was present but "wasn't supposed to be on the premises," according to a press release from the department.

The release described an initial account of the incident that said officers attempted to arrest Blake and deployed a Taser on him before Sheskey shot him in the back seven times. In the initial investigation after the incident, authorities recovered a knife from the car.

Neighbors told Business Insider that Blake appeared to be a peacemaker, seeking to deescalate the situation.

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