Support from law enforcement groups for Joe Biden is beginning to wither as the former vice president’s remarks about the protests that have erupted nationwide over the killing of George Floyd have convinced a number of police officers that he’s moving too far left, according to a report on Thursday.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has focused on police reform and oversight issues, creating the perception that he isn’t in solidarity with the police, who have been targeted in the violence that has erupted during some of the protests, Politico reported.
“Clearly, he’s made a lot of changes the way candidates do during the primary process, but he kept moving left and fell off the deep end,” Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, the umbrella organization for Police Benevolent Association chapters, told Politico.
“For Joe Biden, police are shaking their heads because he used to be a stand-up guy who backed law enforcement,” he said. “But it seems in his old age, for whatever reason, he’s writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement.”
Biden in a speech Tuesday in Philadelphia called for nationwide police reform, a bill to outlaw chokeholds and urged police departments across the country to begin immediate reviews to weed out bad cops.
In contrast, Trump has touted a “law and order” approach to deal with the protests and has proposed invoking an 1807 law that would allow him to deploy the US military to quell the violence.
Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police who has worked with Biden on the 1994 crime bill and other legislation, said police have moved more to the right as they become the focus of the left’s ire.
“There are two evolutions in two directions. On law-and-order issues, Biden was right of center: the ‘94 crime bill, the Brady law and enhanced penalties. But as time has gone by, his positions have moderated, moderated, moderated to where we are today, where he would not be considered a law-and-order guy in the sense that law enforcement sees it,” he told Politico.
“Also, as time has gone by, the law enforcement community — especially the rank and file — has become far more conservative. Today, the FOP and other labor groups are far less open to addressing gun control issues, things that traditionally they supported and that Biden worked very closely and successfully with them on.”
Florida Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief, spoke on behalf of the Biden campaign to defend the candidate.
“Law enforcement, firefighters know who Joe Biden is. They know who he is because he has stood with our public servants in the toughest time in their lives,” said Demings, who is being considered as a running mate for Biden.
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