US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has begun a visit to the key state of Wisconsin by meeting with the family of Jacob Blake, the black man whose shooting by a white police officer sparked days of sometimes violent protests.
Mr Blake himself called in to the meeting from his hospital bed, as the 29-year-old continues to recover after being shot seven times in the back as authorities tried to arrest him.
Mr Biden spent more than an hour in private with Mr Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr, his siblings, and one of his lawyers, B’Ivory LaMarr.
Mr Blake’s mother Julia Jackson and another lawyer, Ben Crump, also joined by phone.
The trip, Mr Biden’s first to Wisconsin of the general election campaign, is intended to draw sharp contrasts with US President Donald Trump.
Mr Biden is seeking to portray himself as a unifying figure, able to lead the country through a reckoning with systemic racism along with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
Mr Trump didn’t meet with the Blake family when he visited Kenosha earlier this week.
Mr Biden is expected to follow his private meeting with a public discussion later on Thursday with community representatives in a city still reeling from Mr Blake’s shooting and the protests.
Reflecting that his trip comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Biden wore a mask as he arrived in Milwaukee.
Yet he broke his usual health protocols to shake hands with a campaign staffer.