Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that a grand jury decision not to charge three police officers in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor “does not answer the call” for justice sought by many Americans.
“I know for so many people today’s decision does not answer that call,” Biden said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
The comments come after earlier this month, Biden said that the officers involved in the shootings of Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor should be charged.
“I do think there’s a minimum need to be charged,” Biden said ahead of a visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, adding: “let’s make sure justice is done.”
The Democratic presidential candidate, who has made battling systemic racism a key message in his campaign, said that while the federal investigation is ongoing, “we do not need to wait for the final judgment of that investigation to do more to deliver justice for Breonna.”
Biden listed off a number of policing issues that have been debated by Congress and that fall under the umbrella of policing, one of six topics selected for the first presidential debate next week. In his statement, Biden reissued a call to address the use of excessive force, demanded the banning chokeholds, and said that no-knock warrants should be overhauled.
“We can express pain, grief, anger, and disappointment at the way things are, but remain focused on rebuilding trust in our communities and delivering change that can be,” Biden wrote.
While acknowledging the right to peacefully protest for justice, Biden condemned violence, saying in a tweet Wednesday that following reports that two officers had been shot after the decision was delivered that those who engage in violence “must be held accountable.”
Even amidst the profound grief & anger today's decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer. Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 24, 2020
Earlier on Wednesday, the Democratic presidential nominee urged protesters not to “sully” Breonna Taylor’s legacy with violence, saying, “it’s totally inappropriate for that to happen. She wouldn’t want it nor would her mother.”
President Donald Trump and a number of Republican lawmakers have seized on recent protests spurred by calls for racial justice and painted them as largely violent and destructive. Under the banner of “law and order” President Trump has sought to smear Democrat-led states as overrun with a “mob” of violent “Radical Left” anarchists.
Attorney General Bill Barr even pushed for sedition charges against some protestors according to a recent report from The New York Times.
In a news conference Wednesday, President Trump praised Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, a Republican, who delivered a statement announcing that no officer would be charged, calling him “a star” and “really brilliant.”
In 2016, Cameron was invited to speak at a Black Voices for Trump campaign event in Atlanta in an effort to shore up support among Black voters. Then, last month, Cameron was selected to deliver remarks slamming Biden at the Republican National Convention.
“I think it was a terrific statement,” Trump said of Cameron’s emotional delivery of the grand jury decision.