Milwaukee, WI – California Senator Kamala Harris told accused rapist Jacob Blake she was “proud of him” during a private meeting with his family on Monday, according to Blake’s attorney.
Harris traveled to Milwaukee on Sept. 7 as part of her first campaign trip since she accepted the Democratic vice presidential nomination, and met with Blake’s family and legal team at a private airport shortly after her arrival, ABC News reported.
Blake, his mother, and the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, joined the hourlong gathering by telephone, according to CBS News.
Crump said that Harris “spoke individually with each family member about how they were handling the trauma and urged them to take care of their physical and mental health.”
“I mean, they’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they just do it with such dignity and grace, and you know,” Harris told reporters after the meetup, according to ABC News. “They’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”
The California senator said their conversation was “really wonderful,” and that she wanted to make sure Blake and his family knew that “they have support.”
Crump said that it was an especially “moving moment” when Harris told Blake “that she was also proud of him and how he is working through his pain,” ABC News reported.
“Jacob Jr. assured her that he would not give up on life for the sake of his children,” Crump said in a statement. “She encouraged them to continue to use their voices even through their pain to help America make progress to end systematic racism.”
Harris further told the family about the plans she and Presidential hopeful Joe Biden have to address police bias and wrongdoing, he told CBS News.
The attorney said that the meeting was “uplifting” and “inspirational.”
Kamala Harris on her meeting with Jacob Blake’s family: “I mean they’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they do it with such divinity and grace and you know they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.” pic.twitter.com/O98W5XhICI
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) September 7, 2020
Biden also met with Blake’s family and attorneys last week, ABC News reported.
President Donald Trump said he turned down a meeting with Blake’s family during his recent visit to Kenosha because the family wanted to have their lawyers in attendance during the sit down, CBS News reported.
“I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that,” President Trump said.
The President instead met with law enforcement and business owners who suffered damages due to the riots that ensued in the wake of the officer-involved shooting.
Blake, 29, had an active warrant for charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse when the mother of his children called Kenosha police on Aug. 23 to report that Blake wasn’t “supposed to be there” and had taken her keys, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Kenosha Police Officers Rusten Sheskey, Vincent Arenas, and Brittany Meronek responded to the home in the 2800-block of 40th Street and attempted to take Blake into custody on the outstanding warrants, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
Kenosha Professional Police Association attorney Brendan Matthews said that Blake became combative with the officers and “forcefully fought” with them, including putting one in a headlock, the Kenosha News reported.
Two officers deployed their Tasers, but they were ineffective, according to DCI.
“Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife,” Matthews told the Kenosha News in a statement. “The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.”
Blake managed to get away from the officers and was leaning into his vehicle as if reaching for something when Officer Sheskey shot him seven times, the DCI said.
Investigators found one knife in his possession and another on the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul told ABC News.
Blake remained in police custody in Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, ABC News reported.
His father said that his son is paralyzed from the waist down but doctors were hopeful that the paralysis would be temporary.
On Aug. 28, he complained to CNN that his son was handcuffed to his hospital bed while “he’s fighting for his life” and “in so much pain.”
Hours later, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Blake is no longer handcuffed.
“Earlier today, Mr. Blake posted the bond underlying the arrest warrant, enabling his release from custody. The hospital watch was discontinued immediately after receiving this information from Kenosha authorities,” a sheriff’s office spokesman told WISN.
Although Blake has not yet been charged in connection with the incident that led to his shooting on Aug. 23, Blake was in custody because he was wanted on felony charges for rape and domestic abuse in May when he was shot.
DCI investigators are expected to deliver their final report to investigators within 30 days of the incident, according to the statement.