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Donald Trump condemns violent Wisconsin protests in emotional video – ‘Domestic terror!’
September 2, 2020
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In a video Mr Trump shared to Twitter in the early hours of this morning, the president branded recent protests in the US state of Wisconsin as “domestic terror”. The footage showed the president walking around the site of a furniture store in the city of Kenosha that had been burnt down during the anti-police unrest.
In a statement, he said: “We have to condemn the dangerous anti-police rhetoric.”
He said his administration was “restoring public safety” and vowed to hire more police officers and increase penalties for assaulting them.
The president’s visit to the area took place despite officials warning his presence would only make matters worse.
Tony Evers, governor for the state of Wisconsin, wrote a letter to Mr Trump asking him to “reconsider” his visit to the state.
He said doing so would “only hinder our healing”, adding: “I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
John Antaramian, Democratic mayor of Kenosha, was also critical of Mr Trump’s planned visit.
He told news outlet NPR: “Realistically, from our perspective, our preference would have been for him not to be coming at this point in time.”
Reports of the protests show cars were burnt not far from the Kenosha’s courthouse, and some buildings are still boarded up.
Protests were sparked after Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back several times at close range by police after he tried to get into a car where his children were.
The demonstrations turned violent, with a minor suspected of having shot dead two people and injured one more during the unrest. The president has since appeared to defend him.
The teenager reportedly said it was “his job” to defend property in the area from protesters.
The shooting of Jacob Blake, which sparked the unrest, took place in Kenosha on Sunday.
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Mr Blake survived the shooting, but it is unclear whether he will walk again.
A statement from the Kenosha Professional Police Association claims officers had tried to use a Taser to arrest Mr Blake initially.
Officers claimed to have found a knife “from the driver’s side floorboard” of Mr Blake’s car, the BBC reports. The circumstances behind the incident are being investigated.
Meanwhile, authorities are also investigating whether a teenager charged with two counts of first degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide amid violence in the protests was part of a vigilante group, according to the New York Times.
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A video appears to show the teenager being confronted after ‘bangs’ were heard. He was armed with an ‘AR-15-style’ rife, CBS News reports.
A video appears to show the young man falling over as people attempt to disarm him, before shots were fired.
The paper claims the teenager’s social media accounts appear to show an “intense affinity” for Mr Trump.