Joe Biden has met the family of black man Jacob Blake who was shot seven times by a white police officer, sparking days of sometimes violent protests.
The Democratic presidential nominee 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 in Milwaukee.
Mr Blake junior joined via phone from his hospital bed and his mother, Julia Jackson, and lawyer Ben Crump also joined by phone.
The Democrat then stopped off in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Mr Blake was shot, two days after Donald Trump did the same – but the president did not meet Mr Blake’s family.
Mr Trump used his visit to back law enforcement as he blamed “domestic terror” for the “destruction” in Kenosha.
With a campaign message of “law and order” he visited areas damaged in protests and promised nearly $4m (£3m) to help damaged businesses and $1m (£740,000) for city law enforcement.
A few hundred pro and anti-Trump protesters gathered in Kenosha during his visit.
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As Mr Biden arrived in the city on Thursday, Kenosha was calm, with a handful of his supporters, some Black Lives Matter activists and a lone Trump supporter gathering.
The Democrat’s visit was intended to draw sharp contrasts with the president, building on his argument that he is a unifying figure, able to lead the nation through a racial division, the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, said on Thursday he had asked both candidates not to visit.
Mr Biden met community leaders after talking to the Blake family, and told a church congregation the turmoil their city has experienced can be part of an awakening that helps the US confront centuries of discord.
“We’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to be addressing the original sin of this country, 400 years old, slavery and all the vestiges of it,” he told Grace Lutheran Church.
“I can’t say if tomorrow God made me president, I can’t guarantee you everything gets solved in four years.”
But “it would be a whole better, we’d get a whole lot further down the road” if Trump is not re-elected, he added.
The president is scheduled to hold a campaign rally on Thursday evening in Pennsylvania, a key Rust Belt battleground.
His campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said Mr Biden’s visit to Kenosha was inappropriate and Mr Trump went because he is president but Mr Biden is only “injecting politics into a really serious situation that president helped solve”.