While speaking to community leaders at Grace Lutheran Church, Biden said he spent an hour with the Blake family and spoke with Blake, who is paralyzed from the waist down and remains hospitalized, on the phone for about 15 minutes.
“He’s out of ICU,” the Democratic presidential nominee said.
“He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him. How, whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up,” Biden said.
While responding to “a reported domestic incident” on Aug. 23, Kenosha police officers confronted Blake, a 29-year-old Black father, who walked away from them and toward his parked SUV with his children inside. A white officer was videotaped shooting Blake in the back several times.
Community anger over the shooting prompted days of protests and unrest in the city. On Aug. 25, a white teen vigilante fatally shot two protesters and wounded a medic at a Kenosha protest. He’s been charged with several counts, including first-degree intentional homicide.
Biden said that Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, who was speaking over the phone during his visit, offered a prayer for her son and for the police.
“I’m praying for Jacob and I’m praying for the policeman as well,” Biden recalled Jackson as saying. “I’m praying that things change.’”
Ben Crump, the attorney for Blake’s family, confirmed in a statement later Thursday that Biden and his wife, Jill, paid a visit to the Blakes in Kenosha.
Crump described the visit as an “engaging, 90-minute in-person meeting” that included Blake’s father, sisters and brother.
“Mr. Blake Sr. talked about the need for systematic reform because the excessive use of force against minorities has been going on for far too long,” Crump said in the statement.
Biden’s visit to Kenosha was markedly different from President Donald Trump’s visit earlier this week. Biden focused on a message of “healing” and uniting the community, and he spoke to Kenosha residents, community leaders and Blake’s family.
Trump focused on law and order, meeting with police officials and touring the burned buildings left behind after rioting erupted during the protests. Trump said he didn’t meet with the Blake family because they wanted lawyers to be present.
A day before Trump landed in Wisconsin, Jacob Blake Sr. told CNN he wasn’t “going to play politics”
“This is my son’s life we are talking about,” he told CNN. “I am not getting into politics. It is all about my son, man. It has nothing to do with a photo-op. It has to do with Jacob’s operation.”
Both presidential candidates visited the tense city despite Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) wishes.
Evers had asked Trump to “reconsider” his visit to the city, which has recently calmed down after a week of violence and conflict.
Evers told reporters on Thursday that he would “prefer that no one be here, be it candidate Trump or candidate Biden.”
However, the governor said “candidates can make their decisions,” adding, “it is what it is.”
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