KENOSHA, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill have arrived in the Badger State.
The Democratic presidential candidate held a community meeting in Kenosha Thursday afternoon, "to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face."
The Bidens also met with the family of Jacob Blake at the Milwaukee airport shortly after the Biden's arrival.
“This is about making sure that we move forward,” Biden told reporters Wednesday. He added that he’s “not going to tell Kenosha what they have to do” but instead encourage a community to “talk about what has to be done.”
President Donald Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday, speaking with business owners and law enforcement, following nights of civil unrest after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Despite concern from the governor and mayor, Trump remained committed to traveling to the city. Residents of the community have mixed feelings about the president's visit to their city.
Here are updates as they come in:
2:45 p.m. More Kenosha Community Members Discuss What They Are Seeing:
- A community member tells Biden the community is "heavily angry." She says the changes they want are often promised, but there is no action taken. She wants officers held accountable for crimes. She also touches on over-policing in Black communities and racial profiling.
- A local representative, Anthony Kennedy, tells Biden he has hope for the future. He says his community will need to work to regain trust in the system, but if the national leader is strong, it can be done.
2:40 p.m. Joe Biden Responds to Community Members:
- Biden says that while what's happening in this country is not Trump's fault, he believes Trump legitimizes it through his words and responses. "I thought you could defeat hate. Hate only hides."
- Biden says that we, as a country, have a chance to do positive things and make change now that so many underlying issues have been revealed. Biden is optimistic about the country's future if we seize the chance to change.
- In response to the community's comments, Biden says: He will financially back programs for minorities that are underfunded. He will nationalize $15 minimum wage. Prison punishment will turn into prison reform.
- He suggests people who are arrested for drug consumption should be required to go to rehab. If rehab is completed, it would not be on their record. He stresses the need for community clinics and the importance of mental health coverage.
- Biden says he supports peaceful protests, but he also says that rioting, looting and burning should not be tolerated. He proposes federal evaluation on prosecution sentencing methods.
- He says Gen Z is highly affected by anxiety and this should be caught earlier in schools. He says drug abuse doesn't cause mental health problems, but vice versa.
2:25 p.m. National civil rights attorney Ben Crump releases statement on Bidens’ visit with the Jacob Blake family
“Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden today had a very engaging 90-minute in-person meeting with the Blake family, including Jacob’s father, sisters and brother. I joined the meeting by phone, as did Jacob’s mother and Jacob himself from his hospital bed. The family was grateful for the meeting and was very impressed that the Bidens were so engaged and willing to really listen. 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. Jacob Jr. shared about the pain he is enduring, and the vice president commiserated. The vice president told the family that he believes the best of America is in all of us and that we need to value all our differences as we come together in America’s great melting pot. It was very obvious that Vice President Biden cared, as he extended to Jacob Jr. a sense of humanity, treating him as a person worthy of consideration and prayer.”
2:20 p.m. Joe Biden holds a community discussion. These are some of the points brought up so far:
- A community member brings up racial disparities in the state, highlighting the need for financial support for programs geared toward people of color.
- A local firefighter tells Biden that "spirits are high because of the appreciation [the] community has shown." He goes on to say that over his years of service, he has seen many problems in the community that need attention. He highlights the need for low-cost healthcare access.
- A local business owner, who has a framing and art gallery, shares with Biden she has never seen anything as devastating in Kenosha as the destruction that has happened since the shooting of Jacob Blake. She counts herself lucky that her business is still standing.
- An attorney from the area tells Biden that she recognizes how the law protects police officers who kill Black men and women. She says if he were elected, she hopes Biden would work to give states incentive to reverse or undo some of these laws. The attorney also says she wants the public to understand true racial discrepancies in courtrooms. She again, calls for legislation to be passed.
2:10 p.m. Jacob Blake's uncle spoke alongside George Floyd's "nephews" in Kenosha earlier today.
1:50 p.m. Former VP Joe Biden has arrived at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha where he is holding his community discussion.
12:15 p.m. Today Jill and Joe Biden met with the family of Jacob Blake in a private meeting at the Milwaukee airport.
Those in attendance were:
- Jacob Blake, Sr., Jacob Blake’s father
- Letetra Widman, Jacob Blake’s sister
- Myron Jackson, Jacob Blake’s brother
- Zietha Blake, Jacob Blake’s sister
- Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake’s mother (by phone)
- Ben Crump, Jacob Blake’s attorney (by phone)
- Patrick Salvi, Sr., on Jacob Blake’s legal team
- B’Ivory LaMarr, on Jacob Blake’s legal team
11:55 a.m. Kenosha County Sheriff releases information saying that Kenosha County has gone 8 days and nights with relatively peaceful activity.
A situational update for the civil unrest includes the following statistics from August 23rd through September 3rd.
- Total calls for service = 31,204
- 911 calls = 3,465
- Total arrests = 252
- Arrests for individuals that do not live in Kenosha County = 132
- Kenosha County Property Damage = $385,000
- Kenosha City Property Damage = $1.95M
- Total law enforcement agencies = 40+
- Total National Guard = 1500+
- ATF Fires of Interest = 23+
11:42 a.m. Senator Ron Johnson tweets about Joe Biden's visit to Kenosha today. The Republican senator was with President Trump for the majority of the day when he was in Kenosha Tuesday.
11:30 a.m. Joe and Jill Biden have arrived at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.
They are expected in Kenosha between 1:45 and 2:00 p.m.
9:15 a.m. The Bidens boarded a plane in Delaware and are headed for Kenosha, Wisconsin.
5:48 p.m. Ben Crump and co-counsels Patrick Salvi and B’Ivory Lamarr, who are representing Blake, release the following statements on Attorney General Barr’s comments about Jacob Blake:
“Our legal team, who represents Jacob Blake, disputes Attorney General Barr’s account of what happened. Attorney General Barr is misinformed. The police officers were the aggressors from start to finish, based on video and witness accounts.
There was never any point in time when there was justification for deadly force. In fact, there were innocent bystanders in the line of fire when he shot seven times into Jacob’s back.
At all material times, Jacob’s back was to the officers and he never posed an imminent threat. This was never a life or death situation for the officers.”
4:04 p.m. A member of Blake's family confirms that the Bidens plan to meet with them while in Kenosha tomorrow.
2:20 p.m. Law enforcement from Kenosha, Milwaukee, and the state of Wisconsin are working to identify and speak to at least seven persons of interest who could advance the arson investigations of several Kenosha businesses and vehicles that were set ablaze between August 23 and August 25.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Milwaukee Field Office is working to identify those responsible for 20 structure and seven vehicle arsons that occurred during the nights of unrest.
Click here to view the ATF’s list of suspects and corresponding arsons that occurred. The list was released today, Wednesday.
Anyone with information on the identities or whereabouts of these individuals is encouraged to contact the Kenosha Police Department at (262) 605-5203 or Kenosha CrimeStoppers at (262) 656-7333, or 1-888-ATF-FIRE. Additionally, you may also email information to ATFTips@atf.gov.
1:08 p.m. Kenosha County ends its state of emergency curfew. This will go into effect immediately.
The curfew was originally supposed to run through Labor Day, Monday Sept. 7 at 7 a.m.
The decision was made after a meeting with both community leaders and law enforcement representatives, in light of a decline in violent protests.
“After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, I have decided the curfew is no longer needed. 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," Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian says.
The mayor continued to say that while the curfew is being lifted for now, violence and other criminal activity is still unacceptable in the county.
"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," he says.
11:25 a.m. Four people arrested for curfew violations in Kenosha are filing a lawsuit against the city and county.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit claims that the arrests infringed on their right to free speech. The curfew has been in place since the police shooting of Jacob Blake 10 days ago. The Kenosha County Sheriff says the state of emergency and the curfew will continue in the area through Labor Day with slight changes. The curfew will be pushed back to start at 9 p.m. and will be lifted at 7 a.m. each morning.
10:00 a.m. On Thursday, September 3, Jill and Joe Biden will travel to Wisconsin.
Vice President Biden will hold a community meeting in Kenosha to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face. After, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden will make a local stop.
3:24 p.m. The Kenosha community is continuing to come together to try and rebuild. Check out this moment our Angie Angers and Adam Vance caught on camera.
2:42 p.m. Trump ends the roundtable and says he is returning to the airport.
2:37 p.m. Trump says that while there are bad apples in the police department, he does not think law enforcement is a place of systemic racism.
"I have the endorsement of so many... I think they want to do the right thing," he says.
When asked if he thinks systemic racism overall is a problem in the country, Trump says the focus should be on rioters, looters and agitators. He supports peaceful protests but does not think there is much if it going on, after seeing the damage in Kenosha.
"It's not a peaceful protest, and you shouldn't call it a peaceful protest," he says.
A reporter points out that people want structural change, to which Trump responds that everyone, whether protesting or not, wants change. "They want law and order... they want great police force. They want people who are going to keep them safe," he says.
2:35 p.m. When asked if he thinks all law enforcement officers whould wear body cams, he bounces the question to Barr, Miskinis and Beth who all share sentiments of support. Beth says their budget will allow for them in 2021.
2:33 p.m. "I feel terribly for anybody who goes through that... It's under investigation. It's a big thing happening right now... I hope they come up with the right answer. It's a complicated subject... I didn't get to speak to the mother. I heard she's a fine woman... If we can help, we're going to help," Trump says when asked what he would like to say to Blake's family.
2:27 p.m. Trump invites a community pastor to recite a prayer at the roundtable discussion.
"Until we can change the hearts of people, we'll have to continue to build bigger jails and build bigger prisons..." he says the country must also focus on moral and spiritual law, not just civil law. He wants people to focus on love and Jesus' teachings.
2:24 p.m. Chief Daniel Miskinis equates the attacks on law enforcement and "small town America" to war-level tactics.
He says criticsm of police isn't bad, but attacking them in the way that he and his officers have been attacked the last week or so, is harmful.
Trump is complimentary of both Miskinis and Beth.
2:20 p.m. Beth also shows high praise for Trump and his support for his team.
2:15 p.m. Sen. Ron Johnson says the vast majority of Americans, and Wisconsinites, are appreciative of law enforcement. He thanks the President for showing his support for the city and law enforcement by making this visit.
Rep. Bryan Steil says he called Trump on Tuesday. He also shares his appreciation for Trump providing resources and working to restore public safety in Kenosha.
2:11 p.m. Kenosha's mayor says no one tried to break into his residence last night.
2:10 p.m. Attorney General William Barr says the violence that happened in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake can't be tolerated. He notes that out of 175 arrests, about 100 were from out of town.
Barr says that Wisconsin is an example of local, state and federal leaders and law enforcement coming together to create peace.
"We can achieve results," he says.
2:02 p.m. Evers says Wisconsin is offering no-interest loans to Kenosha businesses.
1:50 p.m. Trump's roundtable starts. He thanks all levels of law enforcement. He tells business owners he will be giving them help.
- "That's a very complete rebuild," Trump says to a business owner who's store has been in the community for more than 100 years.
- Trump says if Evers had been more responsive from the beginning, this may not even be an issue, but he does again reiterate that Evers is doing a better job handling this than how he thinks other state's governors would have responded.
- City leaders are sharing their grattitude with the President for caring about Kenosha like it was any other prominent city.
- Trump calls violent protesters "domestic terrorists."
- He says we must give additional support to law enforcement, calling them "incredible" people. "We can't be threatening them... We have to have our law enforcement."
- "We have to condemn the anti-police rhetoric," he says. He says "the system" will take care of any bad apples. He goes on to say, that some officers can make "bad decisions" when under extreme pressure to make life or death calls in less than a second. He wants the public to understand that.
- "There was love on the streets," Trump says of Wisconsin.
- "I'm committed to helping Kenosha rebuild," he says. One million dollars will be given to Kenosha law enforcement. Another four million dollars will be given to local Kenosha businesses to help them get back on their feet. 42 million dollars will go to Wisconsin public safety statewide to assist in variety of ways.
- "We're here for you all the way... I really came to thank law enforcement," he says in response to state leaders asking him to not make the visit.
1:38 p.m. Trump visits a store that has been burned to the ground and is under security protection. He tells the store owners, ”We’re going to help them; we’re going to help them a lot."
He also compliments local law enforcement that occupy space near the property. "These gentlemen did a fantastic job,” he says pointing to sheriffs officers.
He affirms his monetary committment to the city, and says money will be coming. “We’ll help you rebuild.”
Trump continues to say he likes Wisconsin and its people overall. “This is a great area, a great state.”
1:25 p.m. Trump stops to meet with law enforcement prior to his roundtable discussion at Bradford High School. He again says the National Guard has been successful, and thanks both them and law enforcement. While he says he wishes Gov. Evers had taken additionall assitance Monday of last week, but says he is a better governor than those of some other states, and is supportive overall.
Meanwhile, anti- and pro-Trump groups are gathering throughout the county to either protest or show support for the President and his visit.
1:09 p.m. The President is in Kenosha, meeting with local business owners. Many of the business owners he's speaking to today are attempting to rebuild storefronts after protests last week.
12:45 p.m. Vice President Pence announces plans to come to Wisconsin on Labor Day. He's expected to address employment rates under the Trump-Pence administration.
12:34 p.m. Trump is en route to Wisconsin. We will join him on his visit once he arrives.
12:26 p.m. Trump says he will be making multiple stops today to help people rebuild after the damage that has been done in the past week. He says violence has stopped since the National Guard was mobilized in Wisconsin.
12:16 p.m. President Trump touches down at Waukegan National Airport. Senator Johnson is there to greet the President as soon as he gets off the plane.
11:45 a.m. Rev. Jesse Jackson is standing alongside Jacob Blake's family speaking to the media now:
11:40 a.m. Jacob Blake's uncle speaks to media at the Justice for Jacob Blake event in Kenosha
11:05 a.m. Kenosha police are telling people to expect delays and find alternative routes while the President is here.
11:00 a.m. Justice for Jacob celebration is set to take place soon in Kenosha
10:30 a.m. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on President Trump’s Visit to Kenosha:
“This President has not provided leadership that unites people and he has a bad habit of being divisive, which is not what the Kenosha community and Wisconsin wants or needs. I want President Trump to do what Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, has asked every American to do – examine your heart.”
Senator Baldwin also called for President Trump to end his opposition to taking action on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support over two months ago.
Baldwin has sponsored companion legislation in the Senate, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a comprehensive approach to reform policing in America that will fix and improve police training and practices, ensure transparency and accountability, and help address systemic racism and bias to help save lives.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not allowed a vote on the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act or the Senate Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
10:40 a.m. Gov. Evers, Democrats, WEDC Announce up to $1 Million in Non-interest loans authorized to assist Kenosha businesses
Gov. Tony Evers, together with Sen. Bob Wirch, Reps. Tod Ohnstad and Tip McGuire, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), announced today businesses that suffered damage in Kenosha over the last week will be eligible for up to $20,000 each in no-interest loans to help cover repair costs.
“These funds will provide immediate aid to the businesses that suffered losses over the past week and serve as a first step toward rebuilding and healing the divisions that have caused so much fear, pain, and devastation,” said Gov. Evers “The people, businesses, and community of Kenosha are hurting, but they are strong and are looking to move forward united. We are prepared to be right there with them every step of the way as we rebuild the physical damage and address the critical issues of equity and justice in our communities and state.”
10:20 a.m. Rev. Jesse Jackson will return to Kenosha today to "urge multi-racial groups not to protest Trump's visit but rather to engage in positive community service."
10:15 a.m. We will have complete team coverage in Kenosha during President Trump's visit
10:00 a.m. Congressman Bryan Steil, who represents Kenosha County in Congress, will join President Trump in Kenosha to discuss the need to heal and rebuild our community, as well as meet with workers, families, and law enforcement in Kenosha.
“President Trump answered my call when help was needed in Kenosha. Now he wants to thank the men and women who helped restore public safety in our community of Kenosha. It’s positive he is coming to thank them and to help begin the process of healing and rebuilding our community,” said Rep. Steil.
8:20 a.m. President Trump will arive in Waukegan, Ill. via Air Force One at approximately 12:25 p.m. for his trip to Kenosha.
8:12 a.m. Kenosha officials said damage to city-owned property from violence is estimated at nearly $2 million so far. The city’s public works director, Shelly Billingsley, provided the estimate Monday night on what it would cost to replace garbage trucks, street lights and traffic signals, among other things that were destroyed or damaged over the last week, according to the Associated Press. Mayor John Antaramian has said the city will request $30 million in aid from the state to help rebuild.
See our previous updates here.