The father of a black man who was shot by the police refused to “make politics” on his son’s life when Donald Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday.
The Jacob Blake shooting sparked a new wave of anti-racism protests in the US, calling on President Trump to recognize him and his family.
The President will meet police officers on the visit, but not the Blake family.
The visit goes hand in hand with a strong politicization of “law and order” ahead of the presidential elections on November 3rd.
In an interview with CNN, Mr Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said his son’s life was more important than meeting President Trump.
“I’m not getting into politics. It’s all about my son, man. It has nothing to do with a photo op,” he said.
Local officials have urged Mr Trump not to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, fearing his presence in the city could spark protests that have calmed down in recent days.
But Mr Trump has rejected their appeals, accusing Democratic mayors and governors of failing to control violence when he pleads for law and order to be a central issue in order to win a second term in the White House.
Prior to the Kenosha trip, the President said he would not meet Mr. Blake’s family because they wanted lawyers to be present.
What did Blake’s father say?
“This is not a policy. This is about my son’s life,” said Blake Sr., adding that his son was still paralyzed from the waist down “to hold on for life.”
Jacob Blake, 29, was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer during an arrest when Mr Blake tried to get into a car that was carrying his three children.
“We’re dealing with a person who ran around with the boys a few weeks ago and talked to me on the phone and laughed to a person who couldn’t move their leg,” said Blake Sr.
The officer involved in the August 23 shooting, named Rusten Sheskey, was placed on administrative leave during an investigation.
Mr Blake Sr. said he has “received some threats” since his son was shot.
When asked how his family is doing, Mr. Blake Sr. said he had to take his other son, 20, to the hospital because he was depressed.
The father did not provide any further details but added, “I am sad that people do not understand the pressures this family is under.”
Why is Trump’s Kenosha visit controversial?
The state’s governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has urged Mr Trump to reconsider his trip. He warns that his presence will “hinder our healing” and argues that the city’s citizens are already traumatized.
The White House said the president is expected to meet law enforcement and “look over property affected by the recent riots.”
Mr Trump has also defended a youth supporter who is accused of fatally shooting two men during demonstrations over the shooting of Mr Blake in Kenosha last week.
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He suggested that 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse defend himself, telling reporters, “I think he was in big trouble, he probably would have been killed.”
What’s going on in Portland?
Portland, Oregon has also become a major focal point for demonstrations since a wave of protests against Black Lives Matter was sparked by the murder of another African American – George Floyd – in May.
Mr. Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time during an arrest.
In July, the Trump administration dispatched federal forces to Portland, ostensibly to protect a federal court and other federal property. But they were later withdrawn on charges that their persistent tactics only added to the unrest.
On Saturday evening, 39-year-old right-wing activist Aaron “Jay” Danielson was shot dead in town after trying to protect a caravan of Trump supporters from counter-demonstrators.
- Trump’s crackdown on protests in Portland explained
When asked to condemn supporters who fired balls of paint during a confrontation with anti-racism protesters that night, Mr Trump described the protest as “peaceful” and said color was “a defense mechanism, color is not a ball”.
He told a reporter, “Your supporters, and they are indeed your supporters, shot a young gentleman who – and killed him, not with paint but with a bullet. And I think it’s a shame. “
According to media reports, a man who describes himself as an anti-fascist is being investigated over the death of Danielson.
Meanwhile, protests broke out in Los Angeles, California on Monday evening after police shot and killed a black man in a southern neighborhood of the city.
Police say the man in his thirties fled after police officers saw him riding a bicycle in violation of vehicle regulations. According to police, the man was shot dead at the end of a chase after allegedly beating an officer and throwing a pistol in a bundle he was carrying.