U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday underscored his determination to address concerns about policing, prisons and massive economic disparities faced by Black Americans, saying every agency of his government was focused on those challenges.
Biden, speaking at the start of a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, referred to what he called the “God- awful shooting” of a 20-year-old Black man in Minnesota by a police officer just miles away from where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former white Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, is taking place.
“We’re in the business – all of us meeting today – to deliver some real change,” Biden said, adding that every part of his government and every agency was focused on improved equity.
“We have an awful lot of things that we have to deal with… when it comes to police, when it comes to massive inequality of economic opportunity,” the Democratic president said before the meeting.
Biden said Black lawmakers had already helped secure significant change by helping pass his $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue plan, which will reduce child poverty and poverty in the Black community through a child tax credit and other measures.
Asked what he could deliver on his promises to African-Americans to change how they interact with police, Biden said, “A lot,” but gave no details.
Biden on Monday underscored the need for accountability through a full investigation of Sunday’s shooting by a police officer of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, but also warned against looting or acts of violence by angry crowds.
The city’s police chief and the officer who fatally shot Wright after a traffic stop both resigned on Tuesday after two nights of protests in the city of 30,000.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said Biden would keep pushing to enact overdue reforms of policing.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Dan Grebler)