Biden and his wife, Jill, met privately with members of Jacob Blake’s family for a 90-minute conversation that Blake himself joined by phone, according to the family’s lawyer, who said in a statement that Biden treated Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by police, with humanity and care.
“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,” said Ben Crump, the family’s attorney. “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.”
Crump said Biden spoke to the family about racial injustices in policing, changes needed in law enforcement to address those systemic issues, and the impact of Biden’s selection of a Black woman, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), as his running mate.
Biden “commiserated” with Blake, who remains in the hospital, about the pain he’s experiencing, Crump said.
The former vice president then participated in a community meeting in Kenosha, Wis., where Blake was shot in the back multiple times by police. He spoke at Grace Lutheran Church, a small brownstone structure in a neighborhood close to the city’s downtown, the site of boarded-up storefronts and burned-out car lots.
Biden, in remarks to the community, said Blake joined the conversation for about 15 minutes and “talked about how nothing was going to defeat him -- how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up."
“What I came away with was the overwhelming sense of resilience and optimism that they have about the kind of response they’re getting,” Biden said.
Trump visited Kenosha earlier in the week but did not meet with Blake’s family.
Ahead of Biden’s visit, a group of two dozen Black Lives Matter protesters marched down 60th Street, past the church, chanting “No Justice, No Peace.” Onlookers on both sides of the road cheered them, and cars honked their support.
Police trailed the impromptu parade, using their loud speaker to order the marchers onto the sidewalk. “This is an unlawful assembly,” an officer announced. “Please move to the sidewalk.” The marchers ignored the calls, stopping for a brief rally in front of the church before moving on.