(Reuters) – U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris on Thursday denounced the looting and acts of violence that followed the police shooting of a Black man, as Republicans sought to paint the two Democrats as weak on crime.
Hoping to win a second term in November and trailing Biden in opinion polls, President Donald Trump has used this week’s Republican National Convention to promise a “law and order” response to protests against racial injustice.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, relative calm returned after multiple nights of looting and two violent deaths in response to an officer who on Sunday fired seven shots at the back of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, paralyzing him.
Harris, a U.S. senator who previously served as California’s attorney general, said she supported peaceful protesters.
“We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter who was arrested for murder. And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice,” Harris said in a speech from a university auditorium in Washington streamed online.
Protests drew an array of rifle-toting civilians, among them 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was arrested on Wednesday on homicide charges in connection with Tuesday night’s shootings in which the two people were killed.
Trump said on Wednesday he was sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha. He planned to attack Biden at Thursday’s final night of the convention.
Biden countered by saying Trump was to blame for the way the coronavirus pandemic and racial strife had spread across the United States.
“These guys are rooting for violence. That’s what it’s all about,” Biden said on CNN. “To prove the issue ‘be scared of Joe Biden,’ they’re pointing to what’s happening in Donald Trump’s America.”