On MLK Day, Biden Addresses Police-Minority Relations

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Biden says minority communities, police need to heal.

Vice President Joe Biden, left, shares a moment with Mistress of Ceremony Bebe Cooker, right, after speaking before the Organization of Minority Women’s annual Dr. Law enforcement officials have boosted security at the Delaware home of Vice-President Joe Biden after several gunshots rang out from a vehicle speeding by the property over the weekend. Speaking Monday at a breakfast honoring slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., Biden said communities and police departments need to build relationships of trust.

The vice-president and his wife were not at their Wilmington home on Saturday night when the shots were fired and there were no reports of injuries, authorities said on Sunday. About a half-hour later, at 9 p.m., an individual in a vehicle attempted to pass an officer with the New Castle County police who was securing an outer perimeter.

Biden devoted his 27-minute speech to the tension between police and minorities in some communities around the country following the deaths of two unarmed black men in encounters with white officers in Missouri and New York City this summer. After the shooting, Secret Service agents launched an extensive search of the home’s exterior to determine whether the building had been struck, according to the Secret Service.

The gunman, who was black, committed suicide. “Men often hate each other because they fear each other,” Biden said, quoting King. “They fear each other because they do not know each other. Secret service personnel stationed at the top of the long, winding driveway leading to Biden’s home heard the shots and saw the vehicle drive past the home at high speed and flee the scene. “We heard the shots, four of them,” Cho said. “But next door there is always secret service so I wasn’t too worried. But it was really strange, to hear those kinds of shots next to the vice-president’s house.” Biden’s home is nestled in a heavily wooded neighbourhood of stately stone-and-brick homes along a curving two-lane road that winds through rolling hills. The shooting occurred just days after the Delaware national guard increased security at its air base near Wilmington after several incidents in which vehicles approached the main gate before turning around. The national guard base is part of a dual-use facility that includes New Castle airport and which has been used by Biden when he travels to Delaware aboard Air Force Two.

The Bidens spend many weekends at their Delaware home, and, while he served in the Senate, Biden frequently made a daily commute from Delaware to Washington by train. Police have released few details about Thursday’s shooting, including the race of the officers and the occupants of the vehicle. “Cops have a right to go home at night to see their families,” Biden said. “All minorities, no matter what the neighborhood, have the right to be treated with respect, and with dignity.”

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