VP Biden says minority communities, police need to heal

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Biden promotes community policing to ease tensions.

A Delaware man said that local police violently accosted him before he was arrested, as law enforcement official investigated reports of multiple gunshots near the home of Vice President Joe Biden in Greenville, Delaware. There has been an ongoing investigation into the shooting incident near Biden’s home, but the man, Rock Peters, was arrested roughly 30 minutes after the gunshots were reported. The vice president and his wife were not at their Wilmington home Saturday night when the shots were fired and there were no reports of injuries, authorities said Sunday. Speaking at a breakfast honoring slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., Biden said minority communities and police departments need to build relationships of trust.

In a possible preview of recommendations coming from the president’s so-called Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Biden recalled a major component of the 1994 crime bill he wrote was an infusion of billions in federal dollars to help hire 100,000 new police officers through what was known as the COPS program. 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. The Wilmington home is several hundred yards from the main road where the shots rang out, and authorities were searching outside the Biden residence and nearby homes to determine whether any rounds hit anything. And at times I’ve seen in their eyes the uncertainty and fear that comes with being asked to put their lives on the line, them wondering who has my back?” He said Americans all need to agree on two points: that “cops have a right to go home at night” and that minorities “no matter what the neighborhood, have a right to be treated with respect and with dignity.” Weeks after he attended a funeral service for one of two New York police officers who were murdered in the line of duty, he noted that both were minorities – and that in fact the city police department is now a majority-minority force. “They had a humanity that was denied them by an assassin’s bullet, who judged them by the color of the uniform they wore, as Dr. The gunman, who was black, then 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.

The Secret Service said about 30 minutes later, an individual in a vehicle tried to pass a county police officer at a checkpoint set up after the shooting near the Biden home. The police officer signaled for Peters to step out of the vehicle and, as he did, Peters put his right hand in his right jacket pocket, according to police. President Obama formed the policing task force in December in the wake of violent confrontations between law enforcement and individuals protesting the death of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. With another officer, the two cops struggled with Peters, and one of the officers struck him on his shoulder, neck and head with is knee. “They beat the daylights out of me,” Peters told The News Journal, adding that he did nothing wrong during his interaction with police. Secret Service personnel stationed at the top of the long, winding driveway leading to Biden’s home heard the shots, saw the vehicle drive past the home at a high rate of 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.

New Castle County police spokesman Jacob Andrews said in an email Monday morning that authorities had no additional details to release. “It really is good to be home,” said Biden, who left immediately after speaking to a crowd of about 200 people in a half-filled ballroom on Wilmington’s riverfront. 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 neighborhood of stately stone-and-brick homes along a curving two-lane road that winds through rolling hills. 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. 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. On Sunday afternoon, half a dozen sport utility vehicles were parked near the entrance of the Bidens’ property, providing a heavy security presence in the area.

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