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Blake Family, Rev. Jesse Jackson Raise Concerns About Upcoming Report On Kenosha Shooting

Chuck Quirmbach
Rev. Jesse Jackson (center) and others at the beginning of a march Thursday in Kenosha.

Some relatives and supporters of Jacob Blake, the Black man severely wounded by Kenosha police in a shooting last month, are raising concerns about a new step in the state of Wisconsin's review process. The concerns came up last Thursday night during another visit to Kenosha by civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

On Sept. 21, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced the hiring of former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray to review an upcoming state Justice Department report on the Aug. 23 wounding of Blake. Kaul says Kenosha County District Attorney Mike Gravely wanted an experienced person to analyze the report prior to Gravely possibly issuing charges in the officer-involved shooting.

But during a brief Q&A with news reporters Thursday night at a Kenosha church, Chicago area Bishop Tavis Grant, of Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, raised questions about Wray.

"He is on their team. He is one of them, and we find it strange they would select a consultant when charges are pending versus an expert during the prosecution. So, we don't have the right clarity on what Chief Wray's role or responsibility is. Reverend Jackson has placed several calls to the governor, the attorney general and to the DA, and they've gone unanswered," Grant said.

Credit Chuck Quirmbach
Bishop Tavis Grant speaks Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha.

Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, also shared his views about Wray.

"We're not pleased at who they chose. We would have preferred an ex-elected official, ex-attorney, and or judge. This man has given his life to the police force. Why would he not be leaning towards the police force?" Blake said.

The Q&A followed several speeches, including two by Jackson. Jackson criticized this week's announcement in Louisville that a grand jury has decided against homicide charges for police officers who killed a Black woman, Breonna Taylor.

But Jackson also said there have been improvements in racial equity during his roughly 60 years as an activist.   

Credit Chuck Quirmbach
Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks with Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake.

“Things have changed. I don't want us to leave here in despair. We have 60 Blacks in Congress now, 60. Forty Latinos in the Congress now. Two Native Americans. We're changing America, for the better," he said.

The 78-year old Jackson, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, also walked several blocks at the beginning of about a mile-long march to the church. 

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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