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Vice President: “No excuse” for violence, property damage in Wisconsin

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Vice President Mike Pence said there is no excuse for those destroying property during the unrest in Wisconsin. 

After days of demonstration across the country and in the state, the VP tells 27 News the President’s threat to contain violence by sending in the U.S. military is real.

"Will always stand by the right of every American to let their voice be heard in peaceful protest but we're simply not going to stand by while people reek violence and havoc," said Pence.

Over the weekend, Governor Tony Evers deployed Wisconsin National Guard members to assist law enforcement in protests in Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, and Green Bay. But, as days went on looting and property damage continued.

"There is no excuse for those in the midst of legitimate protest to be taking the opportunity to destroy property to engage in the kind of looting and violence."

27 News asked the governor's office and members of the president's staff whether or not Wisconsin's efforts are enough. Neither responded to our comments. Currently, it's unclear whether states who already have their guard activated could still be met with U.S. military force.

The vice president also echoed remarks that justice will be served for the death of George Floyd, telling 27 News he is working with federal officials on exploring additional charges. 

"We're also in the process of working with federal officials and the justice department and examining whether civil rights claims will also be brought.” 

When asked if there could be a surge in new COVID-19 cases after thousands of people gather for demonstrations, Pence said it's been an issue brought up in White House Coronavirus Task Force meetings.

"We just encourage every American whether it'd be those that would be engaged in peaceful protest or those that are taking the opportunity to reopen their businesses to continue to practice the good hygiene and social distancing."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also spoke on the civil unrest facing communities across the nation. During a speech in Philadelphia Biden called on Congress to act this month on “real police reform.”

“We can't leave this moment thinking that we can once again turn away and do nothing. We can't do that this time. We just can't. The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism," said Biden.

The former VP also condemned Trump for his response to the protesters in Washington D.C. and across the county.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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