The latest on Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 8:02 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020
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7:24 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Blake family attorney on Trump's trip: Jacob Blake should have been "primary purpose and the primary focus"

From CNN's Raja Razek

Jacob Blake's family attorney B'Ivory LaMarr speaks with CNN on Tuesday, September 1.
Jacob Blake's family attorney B'Ivory LaMarr speaks with CNN on Tuesday, September 1. CNN

Following President Trump's trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake's family attorney B'Ivory LaMarr told CNN's Jim Acosta that the family has reiterated several times that they did not want Jacob's tragedy to become a political issue. 

Acosta asked LaMarr, "What is your response to how the President conducted himself today?"

"The family has reiterated on several times that they didn’t want this tragedy to become a political issue. You know we didn't want this to be, you know, to gain political points," LaMarr said. "And I think that it begs the question, the motivations and  — of Donald Trump coming in for this visit. I think that the conversation needs to be had, I think that there needs to be a dialogue among these issues and this has been going on for far too long."

LaMarr noted that Blake should have been the focus of Trump's trip today.

"I think that Jacob Blake should have been the primary purpose and the primary focus. That is what is causing this country to be in an uproar. Not only in the city of Kenosha in the state of Wisconsin but all across this county," he added. "I mean, this is a local issue. It started as a local issue, but now it is a national issue. So if we’re really about looking for meaningful change, then we would expect that not only the local leaders look to find solutions in that capacity but also the national leaders and a president to be the head on making sure that we effectuate that type of change."

Trump claimed that he was 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 of his events.

7:41 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

During his visit to Kenosha, Trump didn't address systemic racism 

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

During Trump's trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today, the President 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 say 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.

During the roundtable, Trump spoke at length about law enforcement and damage to small businesses, announcing that his administration would be providing millions of dollars in funding toward law enforcement, public safety resources and small business relief in Kenosha and the state of Wisconsin.

7:26 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Pence on Blake: "We grieve an incident like that, we really do, but I want to let the investigation play out"

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Mike Pence attends the Republican National Convention on August 26 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mike Pence attends the Republican National Convention on August 26 in Baltimore, Maryland. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News' Bret Baier in an interview after his campaign event in Exeter, Pennsylvania, that on the police shooting of Jacob Blake "we grieve an incident like that, we really do, but I want to let the investigation play out."

This happened after he first mentioned the police killing of George Floyd and didn't mention what was happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Baier had to remind him that Blake was shot seven times.

Pence's comments came after Trump's trip to Kenosha where he did not meet with the family of Blake. Trump claimed that he was not meeting with Blake's family because they wanted to involve lawyers. The pastors of Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, took part in one of Trump's event.

Toward the end of Trump's roundtable in Kenosha, a reporter asked him about Blake and he said he feels "terribly for anybody who goes through" what the Blake family has experienced.

"I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that. As you know, it's under investigation," he said.

6:41 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Kenosha County official on Trump's visit: "A lot of talk"

From CNN's Leinz Vales and Renee Baharaeen

President Donald Trump tours an area on September 1 that was damaged during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
President Donald Trump tours an area on September 1 that was damaged during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Evan Vucci/AP

Kenosha County Supervisor Andy Berg said "there's a lot of talk" and little action in response to President Trump's visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today following days of social unrest.

"If you want to take it from the positive side, sure, it's good to see that he's out there talking. But that's kind of the problem that we have right now, is there's a lot of talk. What are the actions that we're doing?" Berg said.

Berg was with the family of Jacob Blake and members of the Kenosha community as Trump toured businesses damaged during protests. Trump did not meet with the Blake family because, according to the President, they wanted to involve lawyers.

"There wasn't a whole lot of discussion there that I heard of the President's visit," Berg said of his time with the Blake family. "It was about breaking bread together and listening to music together and dancing and having conversation and making conversation on how we're going to make change in the future instead of talking about change, what change are we going to actually bring to action."  

President Trump pledged millions of dollars in funding toward law enforcement, public safety resources and small business relief in Kenosha and the state of Wisconsin.

"I'm not going to say no to any funding that is going to come to Kenosha. Anything that's going to build up our city is absolutely acceptable," Berg said.

The President has yet to denounce the actions of a supporter who is facing homicide charges for allegedly killing two protesters in Kenosha. 

"There's an investigation that needs to go on still," Berg said. "And to support the vigilanteism, it's beyond me as to why somebody in a position of leadership like that would support anything like that."

Berg also told CNN he thinks there’s potential that the President could potentially be encouraging vigilantes. 

“We had a few folks in our community pushing for folks to come armed. And that’s just on a small level. You’re talking about the President doing that? Absolutely, I think there’s some potential there,” Berg said

6:17 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Trump's visit to Kenosha "not about unifying that community," NAACP president says

Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, says he thinks President Trump's visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today was "not about unifying that community."

"It was to accelerate a campaign platform to try to get reelected. And that's unfortunate because we have lost lives in that community. We have three individuals who have lost their lives senselessly and we've got to address that," Johnson told CNN on Tuesday.

Some context: Johnson was responding to comments made earlier by Trump when he was asked during a roundtable during his Kenosha visit if he believed there is a problem in the US with systematic racism.

"You just keep getting back to the opposite subject. We should talk about the kind of violence that we've seen in Portland and here and other places. It's tremendous violence," Trump said, dancing around the subject.

At the event, Trump also answered for a pair of Black pastors in the room when they were asked if they think police violence is a systemic issue.

"I don't believe that. I think the police do an incredible job and I think you do have some bad apples," Trump said.

He added, "You do have the other situation, too, where they're under tremendous pressure and they don't handle it well. They call it choking and it happens."

Johnson pushed back on the President's comments, saying the Black community is hurting because of aggressive policing.

"For him, it's always about him, and if he sees the support coming from a police union, a fraternal order of police, he's going to cater to their messaging. This has nothing to do with the hurt this country is currently facing," Johnson said.

"He cannot address those things head on. He is only caring about reelection. We need leadership in this moment," he added.

5:14 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Trump says he does not believe police violence is a systemic issue

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

At a roundtable event in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, President Trump answered for a pair Black pastors in the room when they were asked whether they think police violence is a systemic issue.

The two pastors were James Ward and Sharon Ward, who said they were pastors for Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake. Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer, sparking demonstrations in the city.

The Wards were the only African Americans seated at the dais for a roundtable on public safety and were the only participants to bring up Blake's shooting before the President took questions from the press. 

When a reporter asked the Wards whether, like other Black community leaders, they believed police violence was a systemic issue, Trump interjected, "I don't believe that. I think the police do an incredible job and I think you do have some bad apples."

He added, "You do have the other situation, too, where they're under tremendous pressure and they don't handle it well. They call it choking and it happens."

The President also seemed to suggest that his personal interactions with police were enough evidence for him to know that police violence was not a systemic issue.

"No, but I don't believe that at all," he told the reporter. "I've met so many police. I have the endorsement of like, so many, maybe everybody."

The pastors never got the chance to answer the reporter's question, including when the reporter attempted to clarify that the question was not directed toward the President. It's not clear if Trump understood that the question was meant for the pastors.

Earlier, the Wards told the President they wanted to work with him to restore unity amid demonstrations around the country calling for policing reform.

"We believe that we can help to listen with empathy and compassion to the real pain that hurts Black Americans, but we want to be of service to you and to our nation to do whatever we can to bring true healing, true peace and to really seek God's very best in our nation," James Ward told Trump after offering a prayer.

Read more here.

4:43 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

State investigators have worked more than 600 hours on the shooting of Jacob Blake

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

State investigators from Wisconsin’s Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have now worked more than 600 hours on the shooting of Jacob Blake as of Saturday, a statement from the agency said today. 

DCI, along with FBI agents, have conducted 88 witness interviews and collected more than 100 pieces of evidence, the statement said.

Additionally, state agents say they have downloaded 28 videos for review. 

At least 4 search warrants have been issued as part of the investigation as well, the statement said.

DCI is the lead agency on the investigation but they are being assisted by the FBI, Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, the statement said.

4:01 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Trump says use of body cameras is "very tough" despite Barr and other police officials supporting them

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on community safety on September 1 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on community safety on September 1 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said that the universal use of police body cameras is “very tough” but when he asked his Attorney General Bill Barr and two other law enforcement officers in the room in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they all agreed that the use of body cameras is a good thing. 

When initially asked whether he supported all law enforcement officers wearing the cameras, Trump replied: “Body cam?” pausing for several moments before adding: “Well… that’s very interesting. Let me ask Bill to answer that question.” 

Barr said it’s a “local issue” for each police force and community to decide upon but added that it seems to be a good thing in those communities.  

After Barr’s comments Trump added, “It’s very tough — the whole thing with the body cam. You read it and you read two sides of a story.”

Trump then asked two law enforcement officials in the room to weigh in, both of which said they supported its use and that it actually is able to tell both sides of a police encounter. 

 

4:01 p.m. ET, September 1, 2020

Trump says he feels "terribly for anyone who goes through that," in response to question about Jacob Blake

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Trump said he feels “terribly for anybody who goes through that,” when asked what his message was for the family of Jacob Blake, as he spoke at a roundtable in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that, that’s why we’re so honored to meet the pastors,” Trump said. “I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that. As you know, it’s under investigation.”  

“It’s a big thing happening right now,” he continued, “I guess it’s under a local investigation. I know, Bill, you’re also participating,” he said to Attorney General William Barr. 

“I hope they come up with the right answer,” Trump said. “It’s a complicated subject, to be honest with you. But I feel terribly for anybody who has to go through – and I didn’t get to speak to the mother, I hear she’s a fine woman. I hear from the pastor, a really fine woman. But you can see when I spoke with the pastors – I see exactly what it is and they understand where I am."

Some context: It was the first time the President himself talked about Blake’s shooting during the roundtable. He repeatedly addressed people whose businesses were impacted by protests and pledged his support for law enforcement, but never once addressed police brutality, other than to again voice support for officers who “choke” and kill someone unnecessarily. 

It wasn’t until more than 30 minutes into the event that someone in the room mentioned Blake by name – when a pastor said he continued to “pray for Jacob’s healing.” 

The President never acknowledged that comment. 

The only condemnation Trump made was to “condemn the dangerous anti-police rhetoric,” despite the fact that an armed supporter of the President, reportedly acting as a vigilante, allegedly killed two people on the streets of Kenosha during the protests.