Joe Biden Calls for Charging of Police Over Shootings

29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back and was paralyzed during an arrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Joe Biden, former Vice-President and the Democratic presidential candidate, on Wednesday, called for the pressing of charges against the police who were responsible for the shooting of two African-Americans, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake.

Biden said, "I think we should let the judicial system work its way. I do think at a minimum, they need to be charged, the officers." The 29-year-old Blake was shot on 23 August. He was shot seven times in the back and was paralyzed during an arrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

No Action So Far

Speaking in Delaware on Wednesday, Biden did not specify what counts should be brought in the cases, which have fuelled racial justice protests nationwide, the BBC reported. The Democrat spoke after notching up a record fundraising haul in August. He has a lead over President Donald Trump, a Republican, in opinion polls ahead of November's election.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden Wikimedia Commons

During a news conference in his hometown of Wilmington on Wednesday, Biden was asked whether he agreed with his running mate, Kamala Harris, that the officers in the Blake and Taylor cases should be charged.

No action has so far been taken against the officer involved, pending investigations by the Wisconsin and US departments of justice. Taylor, 26, was fatally shot in her home during a drug raid in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 March.

One of the officers is losing his job; two others have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation into their actions proceeds. Biden also mentioned the gunman, identified in US media as a far-left activist, who fatally shot a Trump supporter on the streets of Portland, Oregon, last weekend.

Hoping to Help the City 'Heal'

The Democratic nominee stopped short of calling for charges in that case, but said: "They should be investigated and it should follow through on what needs to be done. "Let the judicial system work. Let's make sure justice is done."

Biden had been delivering remarks about how to open schools safely in light of the coronavirus pandemic. His comments came a day before he travels to Kenosha, where he says he wants to help "heal" the city after it was rocked by days of violent protests.

Biden said he had received "overwhelming requests" to visit this latest flashpoint in America's racial reckoning over law enforcement shootings. The Democrat will meet the Blake family during the visit, a campaign official told the Washington Post. President Trump, a Republican, did not meet the family during his own visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, saying he decided not to because of plans to have lawyers attend with the relatives.

Biden's visit to Wisconsin comes four years after the previous Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, overlooked the state during her campaigning, and it turned out to be pivotal in Trump's against-all-odds 2016 election victory. At his own event in North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump continued to talk tough about "violent mobs" at protests. "These people know one thing - strength," he said.

Biden's Lead Over

On Wednesday, the Biden campaign announced a $364m (£272m) fundraising haul for August, more than both he and Trump pulled in in the previous month. He will spend $45m of his war chest on an ad rebutting opposition claims he will not stand up to rioters and looters.

The Biden ad will splice clips of him condemning violence at protests, which he has done several times since the demonstrations began with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May. Trump, meanwhile, will air a dueling ad in Minnesota with the message: "Communities not criminals. Jobs not mobs."

Biden has a clear single-digit lead in opinion polls nationally and is ahead by a somewhat smaller margin in the handful of swing states that will actually decide this election. A new survey covering the critical state of Pennsylvania, by Monmouth University on Wednesday, showed Biden's lead over Trump had shrunk from 10 points in July to three points now.

(With inputs from agencies)