WAUWATOSA, Wis. — Outside Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha Thursday, where Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inside addressing members of the community, Justin Blake said that his family would not rest until the officer who shot his nephew, Jacob Blake, and left him paralyzed, had been indicted and convicted.
“When all the cameras go away, I can’t stand my nephew back up,” he said, speaking through a megaphone. Mr. Blake said he believed Mr. Biden would be part of the “healing” of the country.
While he did not take part in the family’s meeting with Mr. Biden earlier in the day, Mr. Blake said he had talked to his brother, Jacob Blake’s father, who said he had found Mr. Biden to be “a hell of a guy.”
Neighbors living on a narrow side street next to the church took in the scene from porches or lawns, surveying the swarm of reporters, Secret Service agents and onlookers.
Calvin Cooks, 49, said he understood the anger over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, but said he was also disturbed by the destructive nature of some of the protests that followed.
He said that he supported Mr. Biden and appreciated how the former vice president spoke on policing and issues of race.
Mr. Cooks said he himself was sprayed with Mace several weeks ago by a police officer as he tried to pull his family away from a shooting scene and a crowd that had grown angry with the police.
Still, he said, he thought that the officer who shot Mr. Blake might have been legitimately worried that he had been reaching for a weapon.
“I’d never say it was cool or good he shot him, but that man was thinking about his life,” Mr. Cooks said of the officer.
I followed Joe Biden's motorcade from Kenosha to Wauwatosa, Wisc., where he's entered a home in a quiet Milwaukee suburb. The neighborhood is thrilled.
"This is big doings for Wauwatosa," one woman said. pic.twitter.com/VDYX2SSsZi— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) September 3, 2020
A few houses down, April Valdez was hanging a large Trump 2020 banner on her porch after taking it inside on a windy day.
Ms. Valdez said the demonstrations grew so destructive last month that she and her husband briefly sent their three young children out of the area, fearing they would be hurt. She was frustrated that the National Guard had not been sent in immediately.
“The fires, I think, could have been prevented,” she said. “Change-wise, I unfortunately think anything Democratic-handled at this point is going to put us further into destruction.”
Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill R. Biden, ended their trip Thursday afternoon with an unannounced stop. Sitting down with a small group of teachers and parents at a backyard picnic table in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, they talked about education. The couple’s arrival surprised residents of the quiet, leafy neighborhood, and by the time they left about an hour later, hundreds of people flooded the sidewalks and lawns and broke into chants of “Let’s go, Joe!”
Chris and Karri Tait, donors to the Biden campaign, said they had only learned the night before that Mr. Biden might want to use their backyard for the meeting.
“We talked a lot about just funding mechanisms, what are the challenges the teachers are facing right now and how they’re going to overcome that,” Mr. Tait said. “It gives a lot of optimism of, if Joe is elected, that he’s going to make some changes.”