This article appeared online at on Saturday, June 6, 2020: 

In his first public speech in months, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee managed in Philadelphia on Tuesday to offend one his most reliable and consistent constituencies: police union chiefs.

He promised that as president he would in his first 100 days create a national police review commission, similar to civilian police review board, to call out police misbehaviors and offenses. And he apparently believes that such abuses are systemic throughout the country, claiming in his speech that “communities … have had a knee on their neck for a long time” — a reference to the death of George Floyd:

I won’t fan the flames of hate; I will seek to heal racial wounds. A country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us, leadership that brings us together, leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for a long time. [Emphasis added.]

Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations (an umbrella group for Police Benevolent Association chapters nationwide), responded: “Clearly, he’s made a lot of changes, the way candidates do during the primary process, but he [Biden] kept moving left and [now just] fell off the deep end.”

He added: “For Joe Biden, police are shaking their heads because he used to be a stand-up guy who backed law enforcement. But it seems in his old age, for whatever reason, he’s writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement.”

Bobby Jenkins, president of the Florida chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), said, following the speech, that “ was very police-supportive back in the day, but not so much lately.” Larry Cosme, head of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, was disappointed in Biden’s speech: “Historically, Mr. Biden has always been a friend of law enforcement and that’s why I find his comments a little disheartening.”

Jim Pasco, executive director of the FOP, who supported Biden on the 1994 crime bill that banned semi-automatic weapons and other measures like the Brady bill, said:

There are two evolutions [going on] in two directions. On law-and-order issues, Biden was right of center: the ’94 crime bill, the Brady law and enhanced penalties.


But as time has gone by, his positions have moderated, moderated, moderated, to where we are today, where he would not be considered a law-and-order guy in the sense that law enforcement sees it.

Florida Sheriffs Association president Bob Gualtieri criticized Biden’s speech: “For Joe Biden … to start calling for all of these ‘reforms’ reminds me of what happened under the Obama administration. It wasn’t productive in its relationship with law enforcement.”

Consider too his propensity to offend other key constituencies, For instance, he said on Thursday that “there are probably anywhere between from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there [who] are just not very good people.” Moreover, he is considering endorsing the “defund the police” movement, which is supported by just a tiny of the electorate. In sum, it appears that Biden is determined to torpedo his own campaign.

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