Philadelphia, PA – Former Vice President Joe Biden told an ABC News Town Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday night that police officers should de-escalate situations by shooting the suspect in the leg.
“We can do this,” Biden said. “You can ban chokeholds, but beyond that, you have teach people how to de-escalate circumstances.”
“De-escalate. So instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot-to-kill, you shoot them in the leg,” the Presidential candidate suggested.
Police officers are trained to shoot center mass on a suspect because it’s very difficult to hit the arm or leg of a moving target, shooting an arm or a leg shot is often lethal anyway, and it’s less likely to stop the attacker as quickly.
Shooting to hit a leg could result in hitting something behind the suspect, like another person.
Aiming for a moving limb on an armed suspect and missing could mean the criminal gets the opportunity to kill the officer.
Even if the officer hits a leg, there are major arteries in the leg. When bullets enter the leg, the water in the leg gets displaced and can sever arteries, even if the bullet doesn’t hit the artery directly.
“There’s ways,” the former Vice President insisted. “You have to do more background checks in terms of whether or not the person coming in passes certain psychological tests.”
“And the last thing I’ll say, and I’m sorry but it’s really I think really really important, is that you have to be in a position where you’re able to identify, identify the things that have to change,” Biden continued.
“And one of the things that has to change is so many cops get called into circumstances where somebody is mentally off. Like what happened not long ago that guy with the knife,” he said, referring to the officer-involved shooting of Ricardo Munoz by the Lancaster police on Sept. 13.
Munoz was shot after he ran at an officer with a knife above his head after police responded to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance at his mother’s home.
Bodycam video showed the officer tried to run away and put distance between himself and the armed man, but the knife-wielding attacker quickly closed in on him.
Munoz was just feet away when the officer fired his duty weapon and shot him multiple times.
“That’s why we have to provide, within police departments, psychologists and social workers to go out with the cops on those calls, some of those 911 calls, to de-escalate the circumstance. To deal with talking them down.”
Biden’s suggestion to send a social worker to solve the problem ignored the fact that as the system works now, it’s the social workers who call police to have officers escort them into questionable situations.
Former VP Joe Biden’s suggestion that cops should “shoot someone in the leg” if they’re coming at them is insulting and demonstrates his incompetence & inability to understand the grave dangers cops face as they protect the public and themselves from violent, heartless criminals. pic.twitter.com/7faAJjCoyZ
— Detectives' Endowment Association (@NYCPDDEA) October 16, 2020
Thursday night was not the first time that the former Vice President has suggested that police officers should shoot dangerous criminal suspects in the leg, the New York Post reported.
The same week 46-year-old George Floyd died while he was being arrested by the Minneapolis police, Biden told a group of African American community leaders in Delaware that same thing.
“Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person coming at them with a knife or something, shoot them in the leg instead of in the heart,” Biden said on June 1.
Then he went on to say “There’s a lot of different things that can change” in police training, according to the New York Post.
The Presidential candidate pledged to the black leaders that, if elected, he would “deal with institutional racism” and set up a police oversight group in the first 100 days of his administration.
Then he bragged about law enforcement triumphs in President Barack Obama’s administration, the New York Post reported.
“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,” Biden bragged.
He promised to “re-establish that with more teeth in it, because we also have to fundamentally change the way in which police are trained,” the New York Post reported.
Former President Obama’s administration has widely been criticized for helping to start what has become known as the “War on Police” in the United States.