Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited Kenosha on Thursday, two days after President Donald Trump's visit following more than a week of protests and unrest over the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden met with members of Blake's family immediately upon arrival and spoke to Blake on the phone before holding a community meeting in Kenosha.
Here are the latest updates on the situation unfolding in Kenosha:
Biden Hails Fight For Racial Progress
Biden told residents in Kenosha that the turmoil their city has experienced in recent weeks over a police shooting and protests that turned violent can be part of an awakening that helps the United States confront centuries of systemic racism and social discord.
“We’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to be addressing the original sin of this country, 400 years old … slavery and all the vestiges of it,” Biden said at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, where he met with community leaders after a private, hour-long session with Blake and his family.
Blake, a Black man, remains hospitalized after being shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer while authorities were trying to arrest him. The shooting is the latest high-profile police encounter with a Black man to spark protests that swelled nationwide in May after George Floyd was killed by white Minneapolis officer in May.
“I can’t say if tomorrow God made me president, I can’t guarantee you everything gets solved in four years,” Biden said. But “it would be a whole better, we’d get a whole lot further down the road” if Trump isn’t re-elected.
“There’s certain things worth losing over,” he concluded, “and this is something worth losing over if you have to — but we’re not going to lose.”
Jacob Blake Speaks by Phone With Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Jacob Blake on the phone for 15 minutes.
Biden says Blake “talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, about how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”
Biden says his wife, Jill, asked to say a prayer and Blake’s mother, who was also joining by phone, said a prayer. Biden says Blake’s mother said: ”I’m praying for Jacob and I’m praying for the policeman as well. I’m praying that things change.’”
Bidens Meet With Jacob Blake's Family
Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden stepped off their plane at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport at around 11:40 a.m. CST.
Biden did not answer reporters' questions as he got off the plane, per a pool report.
He went into an airport building where he was meeting privately with members of Jacob Blake's family and their legal team.
Blake's father Jacob Blake Sr., his sisters Letetra Widman and Zietha Blake, and his brother Myron Jackson, were in attendance, per Biden's campaign.
Biden's campaign said two members of Jacob Blake's legal team - Patrick Salvi Sr. and B’Ivory LaMarr were also part of the meeting, while his attorney Ben Crump joined by phone, as did Jacob Blake's mother Julia Jackson.
More Than 250 Arrested Since Jacob Blake Shooting in Kenosha
More than 250 people have been arrested since the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, with more than half from outside the county that the southeastern Wisconsin city is in, police reported Thursday.
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer on Aug. 23, sparking three nights of protests and unrest that resulted in roughly two dozen fires and damage to numerous downtown businesses. Two nights after the shooting, prosecutors say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two demonstrators and wounded a third. His attorney claims it was self defense.
Kenosha police updated arrest figures Thursday, saying of the 252 people arrested, 132 did not live in Kenosha County. Rittenhouse came from his home in Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles from Kenosha, to join others who walked the streets with rifles saying they were there to protect businesses from damage.
The police said damage to city property was about $2 million and damage to county property was about $385,000.
Four people arrested filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday, alleging that police were not arresting pro-police demonstrators like Rittenhouse who were breaking a curfew, while targeting others. The city's attorney called the lawsuit baseless and said it should be dismissed.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating more than 23 fires, police said.
Church Group Says They Were Arrested for Curfew Violation on Way to Kenosha Hotel
A pastor and two churchgoers from North Carolina, who traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Monday night ahead of President Donald Trump's visit, said they were arrested by police after entering the state while en route to their hotel.
Rev. Greg Drumwright had flown into Chicago and was driving a rental car into Wisconsin when he says an officer pulled up behind them. Drumwright was leading a bible study at the time and had stopped the car to navigate to their hotel.
"We were navigating to our hotel in the midst of an ongoing curfew, unbeknownst to us," Drumwright said. "We did see the advisory once we passed over into the state line, but we just continued to trek to our hotel, thinking that we would be unbothered by that curfew."
In an exchange that was captured on video, an officer asks Drumwright and his group where they were coming from and what they were doing.
Drumwright is heard telling the officer the group was from out of town and was trying to get to their hotel. He told the officer they were documenting the events for Justice for the Next Generation, an organization in which Drumwright is an activist.
After a brief exchange, the officer walks away from the vehicle.
"There are other cars but I'm assuming this is standard procedure because there's a curfew," Drumwright said as the video showed several other vehicles driving by.
The officer returns, asks Drumwright to exit the vehicle and then informs him that they will be arrested for curfew violation.
Kenosha police confirmed that their officers arrested at least 21 people for curfew violations that evening, which included Drumwright and his church members.
Drumwright questioned why other vehicles weren't stopped like they were.
"I feel like that members of our community are constantly being targeted," Drumwright said. "Which is actually what I firmly believe what led to the unfortunate incidents around Jacob Blake's case."
ATF, Kenosha Authorities Seek Persons of Interest in More Than Two Dozen Arsons
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the Kenosha Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, are seeking at least seven persons of interest in connection with several investigations into arsons committed in the city during the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
According to a press release, the agencies, along with the Kenosha Fire Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, are looking for individuals suspected in at least 20 structure fires and seven vehicle arsons between Aug. 23 and Aug. 25.
The ATF released surveillance footage and images of several potential persons of interest in connection with the fires, and is asking for the public’s help in identifying those responsible.
“With remarkable speed, the ATF’s National Response Team has already processed the fire scenes and isolated images of individuals who may have important information,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said in a statement. “Now we need the public’s help in reviewing these images. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the ATF and our state and local partners, will continue working to hold accountable anyone responsible for the arsons that devastated Kenosha.”
Videos and surveillance photos of several individuals are available on the ATF’s website, which can be found here.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Kenosha Police Department at 262-605-5203, Kenosha CrimeStoppers at 262-656-7333, or 1-888-ATF-FIRE. Tips can also be submitted to ATFTips@atf.gov.
Kenosha Mayor Says City Curfew Lifted
Kenosha officials announced Wednesday that the city's curfew has been lifted.
“After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, I have decided the curfew is no longer needed," Mayor John Antaramian said in a statement. "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. However, criminal activity will not be tolerated and arrests will be made if needed. I am hopeful there will be no need to reinstate the curfew in the near future.”
Protesters Gather, March in Kenosha During and After Trump's Visit
Demonstrators in Kenosha were marching through city streets, after President Donald Trump wrapped up a visit to the area.
More than 100 people were seen following a man with a megaphone, shouting, “arrest the police” and other chants.
The city saw protest and some violence after the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake. The 29-year-old Black man was shot seven times in the back. His family says he is paralyzed.
At one point, a group of protesters surrounded a man who they said was a member of a white nationalist group. Police officers moved in quickly and pulled the man away from the group. One officer pepper sprayed a woman.
Earlier in the day, a few hundred supporters and detractors of Trump gathered at a city center intersection in Kenosha, mixing and engaging each other in shouting matches at times, but there were no reports of violence.
Some Kenosha residents had feared Trump’s visit Tuesday would prompt violence.
Tensions temporarily rose as Trump’s motorcade rolled by, with his supporters clapping and others booing and cursing. But crowd sizes were modest and passions were mostly tempered.
At least two people were carrying pistols in holsters, telling those around them they were Trump supporters and had open-carry permits.
By mid-afternoon much of the crowd dispersed. A few motorcyclists remained, with flags supporting Trump, and a booth nearby sold T-shirts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Watch Trump's Roundtable Discussion During Kenosha Visit
Jacob Blake's Family Speaks at Kenosha Community Event During Trump's Visit
On the same street where he was shot by police nine days earlier, the family of Jacob Blake held a block party on Tuesday to counter the president's visit to Kenosha.
During the event, Blake's family members encouraged supporters to stand in solidarity with them in their fight for justice.
"Peace and love to him because he has his agenda and we have ours," said Justin Blake, Jacob's uncle.
"Whatever his motivation is, we’re not engaging with that. We’re asking everybody here to focus on getting justice for little Jake."
Justin Blake says his nephew's condition is improving, but he is still paralyzed from the waist down. Meanwhile, he says, Jacob's children are receiving therapy after witnessing the August 23rd shooting of their father from the backseat of his car.
State leaders and other prominent figures joined in the day of action, including Reverend Jesse Jackson and Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore.
"If the president of the United States loves chaos, we are not going to create the backdrop for the violent chaos he wants to see," said Rep. Moore.
Trump did not meet with the Blake family during his visit. Justin Blake says they did not speak with him at all.
"Whatever they are talking about is a ruse. That’s why we’re doing what we are doing today, so they can’t take over the narrative," said Blake.
Blake encouraged continued peace in Kenosha but also issued a call to action.
"We’re asking people not to be violent, not to destroy our community, but in the same breath we’re asking them to stand with the Blake family," he said.
At Tuesday's community event, there were free haircuts, coronavirus tests, food and music. People were also encouraged to register to vote.
"We’re here today not only healing our family, the Blake family, but this is our family. Kenosha is our family now. We want to help them heal as well," said Justin Blake.
When asked if the Blake family would meet with presidential candidate Joe Biden, Justin Blake said his nephew has already spoken with him and his running mate Kamala Harris by phone.
Blake says the family will remain in the Kenosha area until there is an indictment of the officer involved.
Timeline: The Jacob Blake Shooting and the Unrest That Followed
At 5:11 p.m. on Aug. 23, Kenosha police officers were called to a scene that would ultimately end with officers shooting a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back at least seven times.
In the hours and days following, protests erupted and the small Wisconsin city became the center of nationwide outrage, the latest focal point in what has been summer of unrest amid cries for racial justice.
Here's a look back at what happened and when:
- At 5:11 p.m. Kenosha police said officers responded to a call of a "domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street. There, they would encounter 29-year-old Jacob Blake who is seen on video posted to social media in an altercation with officers before they Tase and ultimately shoot him seven times in the back as he leans into a vehicle. The Kenosha department does not have body cameras so officers were not wearing them at the time of the shooting. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Blake's family, said Blake was “simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident.” The officers were placed on administrative leave, standard practice in a shooting by police, while the state Justice Department investigates.
- Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned the shooting. Republicans and the police union accused the politicians of rushing to judgment.
- A large crowd gathered near the area Sunday evening. Social media posts showed neighbors gathering in the surrounding streets and shouting at police. Marchers headed to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, which houses the police and county sheriff's departments. Protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear. Officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.
- The city implemented a curfew until 7 a.m. Monday
- Kenosha residents woke Monday morning to broken storefront windows and cars burnt out.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Supt. David Brown both responded to the shooting Monday. Lightfoot said she was "deeply disturbed" by the video of police shooting Blake and Brown called it "god-awful."
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called for a special legislative session to consider a package of police reforms.
- Tensions flared after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building. Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd.
- Police officers in the city of Kenosha won’t be equipped with body cameras until 2022, the mayor said.
- Just after 2 p.m., Evers authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to help provide support to law enforcement agencies.
- A curfew was again issued in Kenosha County, taking effect at 8 p.m. and expiring at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
- Police first fired tear gas about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect to disperse protesters who chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance. But hundreds of people stuck around, screaming at police and lighting fires, including to a garbage truck near the courthouse.
- Protests spread across the U.S. Monday with demonstrations in Chicago, New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles and more.
- Jacob Blake's mother, father and three sisters, alongside civil rights attorneys, spoke out publicly on the shooting as it grips the nation. Blake's mother issued an impassioned plea for people across the country to "take a moment and examine your heart," saying her son would be "unpleased" by the unrest sparked from his shooting by police over the weekend.
- The family's attorney said Blake is paralyzed and it will “take a miracle” for him to walk again. He called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and others involved to lose their jobs. The 29-year-old Blake underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon, said attorney Ben Crump, adding that the bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. Another attorney said there was also severe damage to organs. The legal team plans to file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency under which he doubled the National Guard deployment in Kenosha from 125 to 250. A curfew was once again issued.
- The Chicago Bears issued a statement promising to use the organization’s resources to “be a proponent of change” in local communities.In the statement, the Bears said that they are supporting efforts to end systemic racism.
- The mayor of Evanston, Illinois, where Jacob Blake played high school football and has family ties, said that the community is in shock following the incident. Mayor Stephen Hagerty said "Evanston’s collective hearts ache for Jacob and his family, and we are praying for his full and speedy recovery."
- For the third night in a row, demonstrators and police clashed on the streets of Kenosha. During the day Tuesday, peaceful protests had once again taken place, but as night fell the tension continued to build, and in spite of a curfew that went into effect at 8 p.m., many remained on the streets near Civic Center Park in downtown Kenosha. Police clad in riot gear were summoned to the area once again after demonstrators tried to push over newly-erected safety fences, and tear gas was fired at some in the crowd who attempted to breach the barriers. Eventually an unlawful assembly was declared by police, and skirmishes between officers and demonstrators continued into the late evening hours.
- At around 11:45 p.m., authorities said three people were shot, two fatally, in Kenosha as unrest gripped the Wisconsin city. Officers responded to the area of 63rd and Sheridan Road for reports of a shooting, Kenosha police said in a statement. Few details were released, but police said investigators were aware of videos related to the shooting circulating on social media, asking anyone with further video or photo evidence to reach out.
- Social media footage surfaced surrounding the late-night fatal shooting during unrest. Witness accounts and video indicate the gunman first shot someone at a car lot just before midnight, but details on what sparked that shooting weren't immediately clear. The alleged gunman then jogged away, fell in the street, and opened fire again as members of the crowd closed in on him, some appearing to kick and grab at his weapon. According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
- Members of the Kenosha County Board, in a letter to Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, requested additional National Guard troops be sent to the area.The group asked for 1,500 additional members "with police powers" be sent to the county "immediately."
- President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that federal law enforcement will be sent to Kenosha as unrest continues to grip the Wisconsin city following the police shooting of a Black man on Sunday.
- A teenage suspect in the shooting of multiple people during the unrest was taken into custody in Lake County, Illinois, and is facing first-degree intentional homicide charges, police confirmed. The suspect was identified as 17-year-old Antioch resident Kyle Rittenhouse.
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said the shooting that left two people dead and one injured amid unrest in Kenosha the night before was a "senseless tragedy" as he called for protests to remain peaceful and asked anyone not exercising their First Amendment rights to "stay home."
- Kenosha authorities held one of their first press conferences since Jacob Blake's shooting. There they discuss measures taken to address the unrest and address the overnight fatal shooting, but do not detail what happened in Blake's shooting. They also discuss vigilante groups of armed citizens patrolling streets at night. As for how Tuesday's gunman managed to slip away, Sheriff David Beth described a chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.
- The two people killed were identified only as a 26-year-old Silver Lake, Wisconsin, resident and a 36-year-old from Kenosha. The wounded person, a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wisconsin, was expected to survive, police said.
- At 6 p.m., Wisconsin's Attorney General held a press conference and the Wisconsin Department of Justice releases some of the first information surrounding Blake's shooting. The department details preliminary information, naming the officer involved and reporting that Blake "admitted" to officers he had a knife at the time, but says an investigation remains ongoing.
- The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office called for a civil rights investigation into the Jacob Blake shooting.
- Citing potential unrest related to the incidents that occurred in Kenosha, authorities in Antioch instituted an 8 p.m. curfew for all residents until further notice.
- Making their strongest statement yet in the fight against racial injustice, players from six NBA teams refused to play postseason games on Wednesday in an act of protest that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues. Also called off: Some games in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and three WNBA contests, as players across four leagues decided the best way to use their platform and demand change was to literally step off the playing surface.
- As authorities piece together a case against Rittenhouse, new details began to emerge about his life. Interested in law enforcement, Rittenhouse routinely posted pictures of himself on social media, including photos with the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” featured prominently. Another video, posted to a Tik Tok account purportedly run by Rittenhouse, appears to show him sitting in the front row of a rally hosted by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
- Facebook confirmed Wednesday that it took down one group's page, titled The Kenosha Guard, for violating its policy against militia organizations. The company said it also is in the process of removing other accounts and material tied to the shootings that violate its policies, such as for glorifying violence, and it is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the matter.
- Facebook also removed Rittenhouse's accounts from Facebook and Instagram. The company said it had not found evidence on Facebook that suggests the suspected shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or was invited on its Event Page to go to the protests.
- Protests were mostly peaceful overnight. As of early Thursday, there were no groups patrolling with long guns as there were during previous nights of protests over the Sunday shooting of Blake, who was left paralyzed. Protesters also stayed away from a courthouse that had been the site of standoffs with law enforcement.
- Kenosha police held another press conference but refuse to take reporter questions.
- Gov. Evers and other state officials held a press conference in Kenosha discouraging vigilantes and questioning how an Illinois teen was able to avoid arrest while armed on the street.
- Prosecutors charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in the fatal shooting of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the wounding of a third.