The latest on Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021
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4:18 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Biden spoke with Jacob Blake and was struck by how he said "nothing was going to defeat him"

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

At a gathering of community leaders in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Joe Biden spoke about the impression left on him after speaking with Jacob Blake and his family today in Milwaukee.

"What I came away with was the overwhelming sense of resilience and optimism that they had about the kind of response they're getting," Biden said of his private meeting with the Blake family earlier in the day.

Biden said he specifically spoke with Blake who "talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up," he said. Biden said both men spoke on the phone for about 15 minutes.

The Democratic nominee also noted that he spoke about faith with Blake, specifically quoting, "He will raise you up on eagle's wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand." 


4:06 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Biden discusses America's legal and education system

Joe Biden addressed a crowd of business and community leaders in Kenosha this afternoon where he discussed trouble in America's legal system and ongoing racial issues.

Biden advocated for an examination of how prosecutors handle criminal convictions.

The former vice president also discussed education disparities in poor communities.

"There's so much we can do," Biden said. "We can do it by just eliminating the tax cut for the top one tenth of 1%."

Biden said he is optimistic that there is an opportunity for change in this country "if we seize it."

"We've reached an inflection point in American history. I honest to God believe we have an enormous opportunity now that the screen, the curtain has been pulled back on just what’s going on in the country, to do a lot of really positive things," Biden said.

Watch: Joe Biden discusses prison reform in Kenosha

3:36 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Here are the community leaders meeting with Joe Biden today in Kenosha

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Biden campaign provided a list of community members Joe Biden is speaking with at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, today.

The list includes members of the faith community, law enforcement officials, activists and small business owners, among others.

 Here's the list:

  • Tim Mahone, chair of Mahone Foundation
  • Jonathan Barker, reverend of Grace Lutheran Church
  • Rev. Monroe Mitchell III, senior pastor at Agape Love Christian Ministries
  • Anthony Kennedy, Kenosha Common Council president
  • Dena Feingold, rabbi at Beth Hillel Temple
  • Tim Thompkins, Kenosha resident and former Marine
  • Lori Hawkins, Kenosha County Democratic chair
  • Angela Cunningham, attorney with ADC Law Office
  • David Andrea, co-owner of Jack Andrea, a small business in Kenosha
  • Katherine Marks, CEO of the United Way of Kenosha County
  • Jeff Weidner, former president of Kenosha Local IAFF 414
  • Carlos Florez, pastor with St. Mark’s Church
  • John Morrissey, Kenosha city administrator and former police chief of the City of Kenosha
  • Aaron White, police officer
  • Barb DeBerge, owner of DeBerge Framing & Gallery
  • Tod Ohnstad, Wisconsin State representative and UAW member
  • Mary Ann Pevas, Dominican Sister of the Racine Dominicans
  • Jessie Metoyer, police lieutenant
  • Peter Barca, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue   
  • Porsche Bennett, organizer for Black Lives Activists Kenosha (BLAK) 
2:46 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

What it looks like outside the Kenosha church the Bidens are visiting

From CNN's Sarah Mucha in Kenosha

Joe and Jill Biden have just arrived at Kenosha's Grace Lutheran Church and a group of Black Lives Matter protestors have gathered on the road in front of it shouting, “Shut it down!”  

The protesters are also alternating between shouting Jacob Blake’s name and “Black Lives Matter.” This is their second pass through the street. 

A pair of police cars from the Kenosha Police Department are following the protestors and using a megaphone to say things like, “This is an unlawful assembly. Please move out of the roadway. Exit the roadway.”

2:46 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

More than 200 arrests made in Kenosha since the shooting of Jacob Blake

From Melissa Alonso and Brad Parks

Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

There have been 252 arrests in Kenosha since Aug. 23, the day Jacob Blake was shot by police, according to a Kenosha County Sheriff Department situational update.  

Of the 252 arrests, 132 have been individuals who did not live in Kenosha County, said the sheriff's department update.  

 "Kenosha County has gone 8 days and nights with relatively peaceful activity," said the Thursday update.  

Still, there has been more than $2 million in damage to city and county property reported since Aug. 23 — including $385,000 worth of damage to Kenosha County property and $1.95 million worth of damage reported to city property, according to the update.  

More than 40 law enforcement agencies are assisting with the civil unrest in the area, said the update.   

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating at least 23 "fires of interest," according to the update.  

1:02 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Biden meeting with Blake family now at Milwaukee airport

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is meeting now with the Blake family privately at the Milwaukee airport, according to the pool report.

Here's a list of attendees, according to the campaign via pool:

  • 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 
1:24 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Biden has landed in Wisconsin

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is in Wisconsin today, and is planning to hold a community event in Kenosha and then meet with the family of Jacob Blake.

Biden's trip comes two days after President Trump visited Wisconsin. Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, have also spoken with Blake's family. Trump has not.

For Biden, the trip is a return of sorts to travel to the most important 2020 swing states — which his campaign has strictly limited since mid-March during the coronavirus pandemic. He also delivered a speech Monday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, another crucial state in November's general election.

Biden told reporters Wednesday he has received "overwhelming requests" from Democratic leaders that he travel to Wisconsin.

"What we want to do is — we've got to heal. We've got to put things together. Bring people together," Biden said.

The shooting of Blake — which left him paralyzed from the waist down, his family says — has moved police brutality, racial injustice and the looting and property damage that have followed some protests to the forefront in one of the nation's most important swing states in November's general election.

2:25 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Trump dismissed question about racism while in Kenosha earlier this week

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, going against the wishes of officials requesting he stay away from the city, which is still coping from the recent shooting of a Black man by law enforcement and subsequent demonstrations that have turned deadly.

The President did not meet with the family of Jacob Blake, the man who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer. Trump claimed that he's not meeting with Blake's family during his Wisconsin visit because they wanted to involve lawyers. The pastors of Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, took part in one event.

During the trip, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he thinks systemic racism is a problem in the United States, given that there are also peaceful protests around the country calling for an end to it. The President responded: "Well, you know you just keep getting back to the opposite subject. We should talk about the kind of violence we've seen in Portland and here and other places."

"The fact is that we've seen tremendous violence and we will put it out very, very quickly if given the chance," he continued.

Trump also largely sided with the message he's held onto since demonstrations spread across the country this summer, arguing that police violence is not a systemic issue and saying that the people of Kenosha want "law and order" and "want the police to be police."

Trump's visit to the swing state marked another attempt to continue his campaign of linking Democrat-run cities and states to violence ahead of the November election in an attempt to paint himself as voters' candidate for law and order.

His visit included surveying areas of the city damaged by demonstrations, touring an emergency operations center and a high school, and then holding a public safety roundtable.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Jacob Blake as unarmed. Blake had a knife.

12:28 p.m. ET, September 3, 2020

Blake's family is pushing for conviction of officer

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn

More than a week after Jacob Blake was shot, his family said his life is no longer in danger — but still so few of their questions have been answered.

"He's slowly but surely able to talk a little better, able to stay up a little longer, hold the hand of his father," Justin Black, his uncle, told CNN's John Berman on Tuesday. But even when Blake does talk, he added, he can't seem to get past questions around the incident that put him in the hospital.

President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday but he did not meet with the Blake family and members said they don't feel enough has been done. They are calling for the conviction of the police officer involved in the shooting of Blake.

"If we're not talking about laws of reform — immediately reforming some of these police — then really I don't want to speak to you at all," Blake's father, Jacob Blake, Sr., told CNN's Don Lemon Tuesday. "But if you're talking about some reform, you can sit down with me. We can have some coffee or tea."

Blake's family said he posed no threat to officers, and they don't think there will be justice until there is a conviction of the officer, who was placed on administrative leave.

"The Blake family is pushing for an indictment of the officer that took liberties to shoot our nephew unarmed seven times in the back. That looks like justice to get an indictment, but not to us," Justin Blake said. "We want him to be convicted. We want him to go to jail."

His uncle said Blake asked the other night why officers shot him so many times.

The Kenosha Professional Police Association alleges Blake fought with officers trying to arrest him, put one officer in a headlock and carried a knife he refused to drop when ordered to do so.

Raysean White, who recorded video of Blake being shot, has said he didn't see Blake holding a knife or harming officers, but he saw only part of the incident.

An attorney for the family, Patrick Salvi Jr., took issue with Trump's description of the officers as golfers who choke and miss a put and the incident as a "kill or be killed" situation.

The officers had minutes, not seconds, to make decisions, he said. And video shows the officers were not in danger from Blake.

"At no point in time was Jacob's momentum towards the officers. And what you see is that the officer is pulling on his shirt and then fires those seven bullets into Jacob's back. If he was concerned that Jacob had a knife, why wouldn't he back away?"

Blake appears to have told officers that he had a knife in his possession, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation has said. Investigators later "recovered a knife from the driver's side floorboard" of Blake's vehicle and no other weapons were found, the agency said.

Two videos have been released showing the encounter between Blake and police, but another attorney for the family, Ben Crump, said another video will clear up misconceptions and show that Blake was trying to get away from officers.