Two days after President Donald Trump’s visit to the city, Democratic nominee Joe Biden met with members of Jacob Blake’s family on Thursday before hosting a community discussion on race.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who is representing the Blake family, said that the former vice president met with Blake's family for nearly 90 minutes. Blake joined for part of the conversation via telephone from his hospital bed, both Crump and Biden confirmed.
“The family was grateful for the meeting and was very impressed that the Bidens were so engaged and willing to really listen,” Crump said. “Jacob's mother led them all in prayer for Jacob's recovery. They talked about changing the disparate treatment of minorities in police interactions, the impact of selecting Kamala Harris as a Black woman as his running mate. and Vice President Biden's plans for change. Mr. Blake Sr. talked about the need for systemic reform because the excessive use of force by police against minorities has been going on for far too long.”
Biden said that Jacob Blake told him “nothing is going to defeat” him.
"I had an opportunity to spend some time with Jacob [Blake] on the phone. He's out of ICU. We spoke for about 15 minutes. His brother and two sisters, his dad and his mom on the telephone," Biden said.
Blake was shot seven times in the back by Officer Rusten Sheskey last month. Sheskey has been placed on administrative leave per police policy.
While Sheskey has not been charged with a crime, Biden said earlier this week that charges should be filed.
“I do think there's a minimum need to be charged,” Biden said, also adding that the Louisville, Kentucky, officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor should also be criminally charged.
Biden told Kenosha community members that fighting for racial equality “is something worth losing over." He added, "But we're not going to lose."
While Biden said that he would make addressing systematic racism a priority if elected in November, Trump said on Tuesday that he does not believe systematic racism is a problem in police/community relations.
"I don't believe that,” Trump said during his visit to Kenosha on Tuesday. “No, I don't believe that. I think the police do an incredible job. And I think you do have some bad apples. I think you'd agree every once in a while you'll see something. And you do have the other situation too, where they're under this tremendous pressure and they don't handle it well. They call it choking and it happens."
Biden promised community members in Kenosha that he would form a policing commission, vowing to invite the police and civil rights leaders to the same table.