Biden will travel to the city later Thursday to chat with business figures, city leaders and law enforcement officials.
The 77-year-old former vice president had his Kenosha arrested two days after President Donald Trump visited.
“It’s about making sure we’re moving forward,” Biden told reporters on Wednesday. He noted that he was “not going to tell Kenosha what to do,” but rather to encourage a community to “talk about what needs to be done.”
Since the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white Minneapolis policeman, Biden has called for a US police overhaul and has embraced a national conversation about racism.
Trump, meanwhile, has responded with massive condemnations of protesters, outright defense of law enforcement, and denials that black and brown-skinned Americans face barriers that whites don’t – measures targeting its predominantly white political base.
The president visited damaged buildings in Kenosha on Tuesday and discussed ways to appease the unrest with law enforcement. Trump was greeted by supporters who sometimes mingled with the organizers of Black Lives Matter – and yelled at.
“These are not acts of peaceful protest but, really, internal terror,” Trump said.
Despite repeated questions from journalists, the president refused to tackle racism in the country or in its police services.
Biden has repeatedly denounced the violence that resulted from some protests, from a June 2 speech after Floyd’s death to a Monday speech that his campaign quickly turned into a one-minute digital and TV commercial.
Biden reiterated on Wednesday that “to engage in violence – fire, looting, the rest – in the name of protest is a mistake. And that person should be held accountable for their actions ”.
But he supported the First Amendment guarantees that “protest is a right.”
He also praised the police, saying: “The vast majority of police officers are honest and upstanding women and men. They put on this shield every morning. They have the right to return home safely that night – the vast majority. ”
But then he said words that Trump doesn’t say: “Bad cops.”
Good officers, Biden said, “want to get rid of bad cops more than anyone, because it reflects on them.”
Police reform, no funding deferral: Biden
Biden supports his proposals to overhaul policing – not to ‘defund the police’, as some progressive activists argue, but to demand that local forces agree to certain best practices to secure federal funding and invest more in services, such as mental health counseling. , intended to alleviate the social problems incumbent on the police, sometimes with violent consequences.
Biden presented a preview on Wednesday of how he thought he could make this work in Kenosha and, if he beat Trump, in the White House.
“I have spent my whole life… bringing people together, bringing community and police together, bringing business and civic leaders together,” he said, presenting the national moment in terms of possibilities.
“There were so many cracks exposed as a result of what happened that people are now realizing, ‘My Lord, I didn’t know that people in this circumstance didn’t have that kind of help. . I didn’t know, ” he told me. “What a huge opportunity to bring the country together. ”
WATCH | Biden dismisses Trump’s criticism of him, attacks lack of leadership:
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said ahead of Trump’s visit that they hoped he would stay on the sidelines, fearing to exacerbate community tensions. Republicans accused them of hypocrisy because news of Biden’s visit did not lead to similar calls.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said Wednesday that he believes Biden could help Kenosha heal in a way that Trump’s shutdown in the city did not.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News, appeared to rationalize the events that led to an Illinois teenager being charged with the shooting deaths of two people on August 25. The night before, several businesses in the city had been set on fire and looted during protests.
Trump and Biden’s visits in an election year are not without precedent in modern American politics.
President Jimmy Carter paid a visit to Miami in June 1980 after the acquittal of four white police officers in the murder of a black businessman which led to unrest which was ultimately linked to the deaths of 18 people. Many city officials told Carter to stay away, and some onlookers in the Liberty City neighborhood he visited threw objects at his motorcade.
There were 64 deaths attributed to the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and the estimated property damage was equivalent to US $ 1.6 billion in current terms. George HW Bush, the president, and Democratic candidate Bill Clinton each met with leaders and witnessed the damage, which was triggered by the acquittal of four police officers after beating a black man, Rodney King, who had in part been recorded by a spectator.