World

Trump defends accused Kenosha gunman

Meanwhile, another African American is shot by cops in Los Angeles

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday sided with a 17-year old charged with killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying the accused gunman was trying to get away and would have been killed by demonstrators if he had not opened fire.

Mr Trump was scheduled to visit Kenosha, the site of protests against police brutality and racism since Mr Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was shot seven times by police on Aug 23 and left paralysed.

On the third night of protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, shot three protesters, two fatally, with an assault rifle.

"He was trying to get away from them... And then he fell and then they very violently attacked him," Mr Trump said at a briefing.

"I guess he was in very big trouble... He probably would have been killed."

Rittenhouse has been charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide, and his lawyer has said he plans to argue self-defence.

The Republican President, who has made law and order a main theme of his re-election campaign, declined to condemn violent acts by his supporters and railed against what he called rioting and anarchy carried out by "left-wing" protesters.

STOKING VIOLENCE

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who faces Mr Trump in the Nov 3 election, accused the president of stoking violence with his rhetoric, while insisting that rioters and looters be prosecuted.

"Tonight, the President declined to rebuke violence. He wouldn't even repudiate one of his supporters who is charged with murder because of his attacks on others. He is too weak, too scared of the hatred he has stirred to put an end to it," Mr Biden said in a statement.

Police also shot dead another black man, who they said had a handgun which he had dropped during a violent altercation in Los Angeles

Mr Dijon Kizzee, 29, was riding his bicycle when Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies tried to stop him for an unspecified vehicle code violation on Monday afternoon.

He fled on foot, and when officers caught up with him he punched one deputy in the face, dropping some items of clothing he was carrying, police said. "The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred," Lieutenant Brandon Dean said. - REUTERS, AFP

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