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Jacob Blake: Trump makes first statement about Kenosha shooting

The US president spoke about the shooting of Jacob Blake for the first time after a rally in New Hampshire and will visit Kenosha on Tuesday.

Jacob Blake: Trump makes first statement about Kenosha shooting
TOM BRENNER REUTERS

US President Donald Trump has spoken publicly for the first time about the shooting of Jacob Blake after a rally in New Hampshire ahead of the presidential elections in November, when he will seek re-election to the White House in a contest with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Trump did not make any mention of the shooting of the 29-year-old Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the Republican National Convention. Blake was hit four times from seven shots fired at his back by police officer Rusten Sheskey while he was attempting to enter the driver’s side of his car, which also contained three of his children. He remains in hospital and has been left paralyzed from the waist down.

Trump: "It was not a good sight"

Speaking to reporters after the rally, Trump was asked whether he thought the shooting of Blake was justified.

“I’m looking into it very strongly, I’ll be getting reports and I’ll certainly let you know pretty soon,” the president replied. “But I’ll be… it was not a good sight. I didn’t like the sight of it certainly and I think most people would agree with that. But we’ll be getting reports in very soon and we’ll report back then.”

Trump has criticized the NBA for calling a strike in the wake of the shooting, the latest in a series of incidences of police brutality and racially motivated attacks against African-Americans this year including the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta in June and the killing of Ahmed Arbery, who was shot and killed by three white residents of Brunswick, Georgia, in February while out jogging.

Trump to visit Kenosha - White House

Trump will visit Kenosha on Tuesday, a White House official confirmed. The city has been the focal point of renewed Black Lives Matter protests after the shooting of Blake and tensions remain high after the arrest and charging of Kyle Rittenhouse, A 17-year-old who is being held by authorities suspicion of shooting three people who were present at the protests, two of whom were killed.

Trump will meet law enforcement officials and assess damage in the city where the National Guard has been deployed, the White House official said.

Trump’s presidential challenger, Joe Biden, issued a statement the day after the shooting on 23 August.

Yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back as police attempted to restrain him from getting into his car. His children watched from inside the car and bystanders watched in disbelief. And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”

UN says "excessive, discriminatory" force used by police 

Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday that the images of the shooting Blake in Wisconsin appeared to show that the police officer had used "excessive" force that was likely discriminatory in nature.

"From the images available that we've seen at this point, the police appear to have used force against Jacob Blake that would seem to be excessive," Rupert Colville said at a virtual briefing in Geneva, saying the use of force did not appear to comply with international standards.