UPDATED, with more comment from White House: Joe Biden condemned what he called “needless violence” in the aftermath of the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, while the Democratic presidential nominee said that he spoke to the victim’s family on Wednesday.
In a 90-second video posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Biden said that he spoke to Blake’s family and told them that “Justice must and will be done.”
“Once again, a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching,” said Biden, referring to video that has emerged of the shooting. Blake was shot in the back seven times and paralyzed.
“Put yourself in the shoes of every Black father and Black mother in this country and ask, ‘Is this what we want America to be. Is this the country we should be?”
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Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, also spoke to Blake’s family.
Republicans have tried to tie Biden to violence that has broken out at protests across the country since the shooting of George Floyd. As Kenosha experienced another wave of unrest on Tuesday evening, some of Biden’s supporters said that he would have to address the distinction between peaceful demonstrations and violence.
Biden said that protests over police brutality were “a right and absolutely necessary,” but “burning down communities is not protest. It’s needless violence. Violence that endanger lives. Violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community. That’s wrong.”
Two protesters were shot and killed late on Tuesday and a third was injured. Police said on Wednesday said that they had arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, and he faces a first degree intentional homicide charge. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Rittenhouse considered himself part of a militia to protect life and property.
The NBA postponed all of Wednesday’s playoff games after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court in protest of Blake’s shooting.
Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted, “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!).” He added, “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”
Later, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement, “President Trump condemns violence in all forms and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness. This is why he is encouraging Democrat Governors to request the National Guard and federal law enforcement to augment their local law enforcement efforts. We have assisted Wisconsin in the deployment of almost 1,000 National Guard and over 200 federal law enforcement personnel, which include FBI and U.S. Marshals.”
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