Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that the officers involved in the shootings of Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor should be charged.
“I do think there’s a minimum need to be charged,” Biden said of the officers involved in the shooting of both Jacob Blake in Kenosha and the police killing Breonna Taylor in Louisville earlier this year.
He also said that the death of a man in Portland who supported the right-wing group Patriot Prayer should be investigated — and whoever was found responsible in that case should meet “the legal requirements” for their actions.
“Let’s make sure justice is done,” Biden added.
The former vice president made the remarks ahead of a scheduled to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday following an outbreak of protests that have ensued in recent day after Blake was shot seven times in the back by police.
Biden allies had revealed over the weekend that the former vice president would resume in-person campaign events after months of conducting most of his events and fundraisers virtually as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic. Allies told the Washington Post at the time that Wisconsin along with Arizona, Pennsylvania and Minnesota were due for visits.
Biden’s trip to Kenosha comes as President Donald Trump pressed on with a tour of the Wisconsin city’s damage even after state and local officials pleaded with him to “reconsider” the visit which they feared would “hinder” healing.
During his visit, Biden together with his wife, Jill Biden, is expected to hold a community meeting “to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face,” a Biden campaign statement said.
When asked by a reporter on Wednesday about the timing of his visit during such a sensitive juncture in the city’s history, Biden said that there had been “overwhelming requests” for him to go to Kenosha.
“We’ve got to heal, we’ve got to put things together, bring people together,” Biden said during an event in Wilmington, Delaware. “My purpose in going will be to do just that, to be a positive influence on what’s going on, talk about what needs to be done and try to see if there’s a beginning of a mechanism to bring the folks together.”
Biden also said that he had “gotten advice” from members of Congress that he should visit Kenosha, adding that he hopes to bring people in the community and police officers together and unite business leaders and civic leaders.
The White House had previously criticized Biden for delivering remarks in Pittsburgh on Monday, instead of rushing to the aching city. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News in an interview Monday that Democrats were repeating a pattern of “ignoring” that began during the 2016 presidential elections.
“Here we go again, Democrats ignoring the state of Wisconsin,” McEnany said. She padded the President’s often criticized record on paying visits to cities in crises by saying that the President has “showed up” recently in response to devastation from Hurricane Laura in Texas and Louisiana.
McEnany said at the time that Trump’s visit to Kenosha on Tuesday demonstrated
“his respect for the American people by actually going to places where Americans are hurting.”
Democratic lawmakers tore into Trump earlier this year suggesting that his failure to rush to Minneapolis to promote unity immediately following the death of George Floyd in May was a grave misstep in the social unrest that has unwound in recent months.