Vice President Mike Pence is calling for an end to violent demonstrations that have erupted in several U.S. cities in recent months.
“My fellow Americans, we’re passing through a time of testing. And in the midst of this global pandemic — just as our nation had begun to recover — we’ve seen violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities,” Pence said during his speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.
“President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest,” he continued. “But rioting and looting is not peaceful protest. Tearing down statues is not free speech. And those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Last week, Joe Biden did not say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country. So let me be clear: The violence must stop. Whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha,” Pence said as he called for an end to the violent demonstrations.
He added, “Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order the streets of this country for every American of every race, and creed, and color.”
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Pence’s comments come as fresh demonstrations continued to rage in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot Jacob Blake — a Black man — several times in the back.
In a press release, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said an officer used a taser but it was ineffective, and “Mr. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward.”
“While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times. Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon,” the release added.
The department said law enforcement officials recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard, but no other weapons.
“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers, who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!),” he said in a tweet.
“Trump added, “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”
The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.