Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday denounced the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., and urged calm and peaceful protest, but did not mention the shooting deaths of two people overnight.
“What I saw in that video makes me sick. Once again a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching,” Biden said in a video released by his campaign.
Biden said he had spoken to Blake’s family and “told them justice must and will be done.” Blake was shot seven times in the back, a family lawyer said, and his family has said he has been paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake was shot by a police officer while getting into his car — where his three young children sat — after a scuffle with police on the sidewalk next to his vehicle. The officer who shot him has not been identified.
“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?’” Biden said.
He also called on protesters to seek justice without resorting to further violence. Alongside peaceful protests there have been riots in recent nights, and soldiers from the Wisconsin National Guard have been dispatched to quell the unrest. Trump announced Wednesday he was sending federal law enforcement officers to Kenosha as well.
“Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest — it’s needless violence,” Biden said. “Violence that endangers lives, violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community, that’s wrong.”
Biden quoted Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, who said Tuesday that property destruction she’d seen on the streets of Kenosha “doesn’t reflect my son or my family.”
“If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes — the violence and the destruction — he would be very unpleased,” Jackson said. “We need healing.”
Biden called these comments “the wisest words that I’ve heard spoken so far.”
“So let’s unite and heal, do justice, end the violence, and end systemic racism in this country now,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments came hours after a young white man with a rifle shot and killed two people in the middle of a crowded street in Kenosha on Tuesday night, just before midnight on the third night of protests over Blake’s shooting.
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