Joe Biden said Monday that police — if facing a threat from a person with “a knife or something” — should be trained to “shoot ‘em in the leg instead of the heart,” amid five straight days of protest following the death of George Floyd.
“Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person coming at ‘em with a knife or something, shoot ‘em in the leg instead of in the heart,” Biden said in an address to black community leaders in Wilmington, Del.
“There are a lot of things that can change,” Biden said, regarding police training.
The presumptive Democratic nominee’s advice on shooting to wound rather than to kill came as he announced that he would form a “police oversight board” in his first 100 days as president.
In the Obama administration, he said, “We set up, in the Justice Department, the ability for the Civil Rights Division to go in and look at the practices and policies of police departments. That’s why we were able to stop stop-and-frisk.
“Re-establish that with more teeth in it. Because we also have to fundamentally change the way in which police are trained,” he continued.
Rev. Shanika Perry, youth pastor of Bethel AME Church, brought up concerns young people have with Biden’s support of the 1994 crime bill.
“It’s been difficult to serve as a surrogate to them because they have great issues with the participation in that. And so they want to know how do you plan to undo the impact of the mass incarceration and the things that have resulted from that particular crime bill,” she told the former vice president.
As he jumped into the White House race 14 months ago, Biden was slammed by many of his nomination rivals for his role leading efforts to write and pass the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The law has long been criticized for unfairly impacting minorities for its “three strikes” rule, which expanded the death penalty and increased incarcerations, and for encouraging tougher parole rules.
Early last year, before he launched his presidential campaign, Biden apologized for his past stance on criminal justice. And last summer he introduced a criminal justice plan that would reverse some of the elements of the 1994 law by eliminating racial disparities and providing second chances for those incarcerated.