The rioting in Philadelphia that left 30 police officers injured, dozens arrested, and scores of businesses looted Monday night and early Tuesday morning erupted less than five miles from Joe Biden’s national campaign headquarters in downtown Philly. The Biden/Harris campaign has made Philadelphia a centerpiece of their campaign strategy, and just hours before the riots erupted after police shot and killed a man that witnesses said was armed with a knife, Biden was asked by news anchor Jessica Kartalija with the local CBS affiliate about the increase in homicides in the city.
Kartalija: Crime rates in Philadelphia, as you know, are at an all-time high. As of this morning, 391 homicides already this year. What is your plan to reduce crime in our city specifically and around the country amid these calls to defund the police?
Biden: Well, first of all, I do not support defunding the police as you know. I’m glad you didn’t ask it that way because you know I didn’t. And secondly, the police department of Philly knows that as well. When we were president and vice president, Barack and I, the crime rate fell 15%. It fell 15% because we provided support for law enforcement, we condemned all violence, whether it’s violence by a renegade cop or it’s violence by a protester taking a baseball and smashing a window or burning a place down. I think police departments need more resources, not fewer. One of the things I’m going to do as soon as I get elected, if I get elected, is to call together a commission made up of law enforcement, made up of the community, made up of the civil rights community as well and sit us down and work out rational means about how we move forward.
First, let’s note that Biden didn’t bring up any of his gun control plans in response to Kartalija’s question; no mention of his gun and magazine ban, his ban on online sales of ammunition and gun parts, his gun rationing scheme, or his plan to give federal grants to states that implement subjective and restrictive gun licensing laws. Given the fact that even gun control groups are downplaying the issue in their own campaign ads, it’s pretty clear that Democrats and gun control advocates are doing everything they can to downplay their extreme anti-gun agenda, and that includes the guy at the top of the Democratic ticket.
Instead, Biden kept his focus on his supposed support for law enforcement, but what, if anything, will he have to say about the shooting of 27-year old Walter Wallace, Jr. by Philadelphia police officers on Monday afternoon?
Cell phone video shows the moments leading up to a deadly police-involved shooting which started out around 2:45 p.m. as a call for a man with a weapon.
“Responding officers witnessed a male on the block. Immediately they noticed he had a knife in his possession and he was brandishing it, and waiving it erratically,” said Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp.
On that West Philly block, near 61st and Locust video shows that man raising his arm as he approaches police.
Less than a second later, both officers open fire.
“Upon being struck the male immediately dropped the knife and was scooped up by one of the discharging officers who took him into his police car, drove him over to Presbyterian Hospital where unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries,” Sgt. Gripp said.
“I don’t know what his demeanor was. I do know something had to be going on that wasn’t normal,” witness Maurice Holoway said.
Holoway says he and others in the neighborhood plead with the man, identified as Walter Wallace Jr. to drop the knife but that didn’t happen.
Now he wishes this call to police for help didn’t lead to Wallace Jr’s death.
“Shoot him in his leg, or not shoot him at all,” Holoway said.
You know who else has repeatedly suggested that police officers aim for the leg when they’re forced to use their firearm? None other than Biden himself, despite the fact that if law enforcement listened to Biden’s demand they would be not only be putting themselves at greater risk, but the safety of bystanders like Holoway himself. There’s also the fact that a shot to the leg could still hit a femoral artery, causing the person shot to bleed out within a matter of minutes.
Officers use a firearm as a means of lethal force, and aiming for the leg doesn’t suddenly turn a gun into a less-lethal means of defense. While most gun owners realize this, clearly Joe Biden doesn’t, and I’d love to hear Biden pressed on whether or not he agrees with Holoway that the officers who shot Wallace should have aimed for his leg or maybe even tried to shoot the knife out of his hand.
Of course, I don’t think Biden will face a single question about the riots in Philadelphia, no matter how close they might have come to his campaign headquarters. Most of the media is interested in protecting Biden in the last week of the campaign, and asking him tough questions about the police shooting and the ensuing riots just a few miles from his base of operations only opens the door for a muddled and confused response from the candidate. The American people deserve to hear what Biden really thinks about the riots and Wallace’s death, but I doubt we’ll get the chance before Election Day.