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Biden condemns 'systemic racism' in Wisconsin shooting of unarmed black man as Trump stays silent

'These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob's recover and his children,' Mr Biden says

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Monday 24 August 2020 18:34 BST
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Protesters gather at scene of police shooting in Wisconsin
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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has reacted to the shooting in Wisconsin of an unarmed black man by condemning the "systemic racism" seen across America in police departments.

In a statement released on Monday, Mr Biden implored for the Kenosha Police Department officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake to face accountability for their actions.

"And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another black American is a victim of excessive force," he said. "This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable."

He added: "These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob's recover and his children."

Mr Biden then stated that America was at an "inflection point" with how it looks at racial justice in the country. "We must dismantle systemic racism," he said. "It is the urgent task before us."

The former vice president has joined a number of prominent politicians, celebrities, and athletes reacting to the shooting that happened early Sunday evening in Kenosha.

Video footage showing police officers trailing Mr Blake as he walked to the driver's side of his vehicle has sparked outrage on social media, as it showed the man with his back to the officers before getting shot.

Police were initially called to the area to respond to a domestic disturbance. Reports indicated that Mr Blake pulled over to assist a domestic dispute between two people while his three children were in the backseat of his vehicle. That was when police showed up and entered into an altercation with Mr Blake.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers confirmed later on Sunday night that Mr Blake was the one who was shot by police and taken to the hospital. He is currently in serious condition.

"Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbours in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries," Mr Evers said.

"While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country," the governor added.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who said he would be representing Mr Blake and his family, informed the public of more details relating to the altercation.

"Blake was helping deescalate a system a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him. As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range," Mr Crump said in a statement. "Blake's three sons were only a few feet away and witnessed police shoot their father."

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is now investigating the shooting and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

President Donald Trump has not publicly reacted to the shooting that occurred on Sunday evening compared to that of his presidential challenger.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Monday that he expected Attorney General William Barr to debrief Mr Trump about the shooting at some point.

"I am certain he will be briefed on the full matter as he is on each and every matter," Mr Meadows said, adding Mr Barr was already scheduled to come to the White House later on Monday.

"It's too early to tell in terms of what actually happened from what I was briefed on. Obviously the video tells a story that is troubling and yet, at the same time, we'll get a full briefing within the next couple of hours," he added.

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