Pence calls Blake shooting 'tragic' but says investigation must play out

Pence calls Blake shooting 'tragic' but says investigation must play out
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Vice President Pence on Tuesday called the shooting of Jacob Blake a “tragic situation” but criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE for describing it as an unwarranted act of violence, arguing it was important to allow the investigation to play out.

“Jacob Blake, that’s a tragic situation that is under investigation today,” Pence said during a live interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier in Pennsylvania.

“We grieve an incident like that. We really do, but I want to let the investigation play out. It’s remarkable that Joe Biden yesterday announced that it was an unwarranted police shooting until we have all the facts in,” Pence continued.

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Baier had asked Pence why he didn’t mention Blake, a Black man shot seven times in the back by police, when he said there was “no excuse” for the police killing of George Floyd, another African American man, in May. Both incidents have inspired protests against racial injustice in cities across the United States.

Pence went on to criticize Biden and former President Obama during the interview, saying they “reflexively criticized law enforcement” during the previous administration.

“We’re going to follow the facts. Justice will be served in every case. We abhor violence in any circumstances, but we’re not going to reflexively condemn law enforcement,” Pence said.

The remarks came on the same day that Trump visited Kenosha, Wis., where Blake was shot. Protests, some of them violent, broke out after video emerged of an officer shooting Blake in the back seven times on Aug. 23. Federal and state officials are currently investigating the shooting. Blake is currently in the hospital in critical condition.

Pence’s comments represented his most extensive remarks on Blake’s shooting to date. The vice president condemned the violence in Kenosha during his speech to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday but did not mention Blake by name.

Trump toured damaged businesses and thanked law enforcement officials during his trip but largely avoided commenting on the Blake shooting, calling it a “complicated subject” that is under investigation. He said he didn’t believe there is systemic racism in law enforcement and sidestepped questions about the goal of peaceful protesters while expressing strong support for law enforcement.

Pence on Tuesday was referring to comments made by Biden a day prior during an address in Pittsburgh during which the Democratic nominee accused Trump of fomenting violence. Biden said the country must stand against “violence in every form.”

“The violence we’ve seen again and again and again of unwarranted police shootings and excessive force. Seven bullets in the back of Jacob Blake. A knee on the neck of George Floyd. The killing of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment,” Biden said.
 
“The violence of extremists and opportunists — right-wing militias, white supremacists, vigilantes — who infiltrate protests carrying weapons of war, hoping to wreak havoc and to derail any hope and support for progress,” he continued. “The senseless violence of looting and burning and destruction of property.”