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Joe Biden visits Kenosha to meet family of Jacob Blake

Mr Biden departs Wilmington, Delaware en route to Kenosha

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Mr Biden departs Wilmington, Delaware, en route to Kenosha

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has met the family of a black man shot in the back by police on a visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

They held private talks when Mr Biden landed in the state.

The city is recovering after sometimes violent protests over Jacob Blake’s shooting and the state is a key area in November’s presidential election.

President Trump visited earlier in the week to signal his support for police, but did not meet Mr Blake’s family.

Neither Mr Biden nor Mr Blake’s family have commented on their meeting yet, but before leaving Mr Biden said he would call for unity when he visited Kenosha.

“We have to heal,” Mr Biden said.

His visit comes two days after President Trump defied requests to stay away from the city from local leaders, including the Democratic governor.

Mr Biden said that there had been “overwhelming requests” he visit, adding that his presence would be a “positive influence” that would help “put things together and bring people together”. President Trump’s campaign has accused him of playing politics.

Two people protesting against the shooting of Mr Blake were killed in Kenosha amid widespread looting and vandalism.

Mr Biden’s visit comes two weeks after he accepted his party’s nomination from Delaware, rather than Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, after the coronavirus caused the Democratic convention to go entirely online. It also comes one day after the Kenosha mayor lifted the curfew after several nights of relative calm.

“The last several nights have been relatively peaceful in the community, and in the judgment of law enforcement, it is appropriate to remove the curfew,” Mayor John Antaramian said on Wednesday.

What happened on Trump’s trip?

During Mr Trump’s visit on Tuesday, he toured rubble from burned buildings and met with police representatives.

“These are not acts of peaceful protest but, really, domestic terror,” Mr Trump said, later adding: “We have to condemn the dangerous anti-police rhetoric.”


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Media captionTrump on police: ‘They choke sometimes’

He said he passed on the opportunity to speak to Mr Blake’s family after they requested to have lawyers present.

In 2016, Mr Trump won Kenosha county by only 255 votes. He narrowly won Wisconsin in 2020, with the state for decades backing the winner of the presidential poll whether Republican or Democrat.

What are people saying about Biden’s visit?

Anthony Davis, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP civil rights group, told NBC that he opposes Mr Biden’s visit, just as he did Mr Trump’s.

“I said that Kenosha would welcome them any other time,” he said. “But things here are fragile. And we, in this community, really need to put our energy into healing ourselves, sitting down and speaking in detail only the way that locals can.”

Mr Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien told Fox News that Mr Biden’s visit was inappropriate.

“The president was there earlier in the week as the president of the United States. Vice-President Biden is there today as a candidate, as a political candidate,” he said on Thursday.

“This is not the time to be injecting politics into a really serious situation that president helped solve. I think it very very clearly points out the contrast between the president’s leadership and the people in Vice President Biden’s party who are encouraging violence in the streets.”

Mr Biden has condemned violent protests since June after the death for George Floyd in Minneapolis.

What is the background?

A police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back during an arrest as the 29-year-old tried to get into a car where his three children were seated.

Mr Biden has called for the officer who shot him in the back to be arrested. “He believes that, based on everything he has seen, charges appear warranted, but that there should be a full investigation to ensure all the facts are known first,” his campaign said ahead of the trip.

In an interview on Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Barr said the situation is different to that of George Floyd, whose death in March triggered global protests.

“Floyd was already subdued, incapacitated in handcuffs and was not armed,” Mr Barr said. “In the Jacob case, he was in the midst of committing a felony and he was armed.”

Mr Jacob was not armed when he was shot, but a knife was later found in his car by investigators.

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