Community group members praise Wray appointment, ‘above all he’s interested in the truth and justice’

MADISON, Wis. — A local group is praising the decision to hire a former Madison police chief to help investigate the shooting of Jacob Blake.

At the direction of the Kenosha district attorney, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Monday former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray will take the investigative file from the Department of Justice when the Division of Criminal Investigation finishes the investigation. He will then analyze the police practice and forward that and the investigative file to the Kenosha district attorney.

“I consider my role primarily doing three things: One is not to prejudge. That’s number one,” Wray said in a news conference announcing the appointment. “Number two is to provide insight and perspective as a former law enforcement official, as a citizen of Wisconsin.”

Wray said he is comfortable moving into this role. In addition to the nearly 30 years at all levels of local law enforcement, he’s also helped agencies beyond his own, working across the country with the federal government to implement recommendations for community trust building and use-of-force practices.

Wray is also involved in community groups in the city. J.R. Sims works with Wray at the 100 Black Men of Madison.

“He’s clever; he’s thorough; he’s logical; he’s fair, and above all he’s interested in truth and justice,” Sims said.

He said the department couldn’t have picked a better person to assist in this investigation.

“Noble is bringing a set of skills that will allow him to, with no nonsense, to look at the facts,” Sims said. “He’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. He’s not afraid to deliver hard truths.”

That included responses to his own department’s shooting investigation in 2012, with a response not everyone agreed with, but the Wisconsin native Wray said he’s honored to be called upon in 2020.

“This is Wisconsin’s moment of truth,” Wray said. “And I want what’s best for this state and the people of this state.”

Wray couldn’t give a timeline for his role, and he’s not sure now if that will include giving a recommendation on final charges for the officer involved.