President Joe Biden called the police shooting of Daunte Wright ‘God awful’ and insisted that change can come through ‘police reform’ as he met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House Tuesday.
While the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March, so far the bill has stalled in the Senate and the Biden administration hasn’t formed a proposed policing commission that Biden pitched as a candidate.
Asked Tuesday in the Oval Office what he can deliver on when it comes to how black Americans interact with the police, Biden answered, ‘A lot. And I will tell you guys later. Let’s go.’
President Joe Biden (center) and Vice President Kamala Harris (upper left) attended an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus
20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed Sunday by a female police officer who the chief of police Monday said mistook her gun for a taser
Tensions ran hight as Brooklyn Center Police attempted to fortify the police station surrounded by protesters angry at the death of 20-year-old unarmed Daunte Wright
From there, reporters were escorted out of his meeting with lawmakers.
Earlier Tuesday at the White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t get ahead of negotiations on Capitol Hill between Democratic and Republican senators on a police reform bill.
‘I know Senator [Tim] Scott, Senator Booker, and others are in close discussion and coordination about what a path forward may look like. We certainly understand that there could be changes to proposals that have been forward,’ Psaki said.
Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, introduced a police reform bill last year after Floyd’s death, but it didn’t get Democratic support.
‘We believe that the George Floyd Act has a lot of the components that will help rebuild the trust, help address – put in place many of the reforms that are, frankly, long overdue,’ Psaki continued. ‘But we also recognize that democracy in action means changes take place.’
‘So we’ll have to see what the discussions look like and whether the president could support any changes that would be made through that process,’ she added.
After the White House meeting, Rep. Joyce Beatty, the Congressional Black Caucus chair, expressed optimism to reporters that the Biden administration could get something done in the U.S. Senate.
A police reform bill would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes to pass.
‘You have to remember the president comes from being a senator. So having two former senators in the room I think speaks volume of how they’ll know how to be helpful to us and we trust them with that,’ Beatty said of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee confirmed to reporters that the George Floyd policing bill came up during Tuesday’s White House meeting.
On Monday, Biden said there was ”absolutely no justification for violence’ in the aftermath of Wright’s death.
The 20-year-old black man was shot by a female officer in suburban Minneapolis.
The chief of police said she mistook her gun for a taser.
‘Peaceful protest is understandable. And the fact is that we do know that the anger, pain and trauma that exists in the black community in that environment is real, serious and consequential,’ Biden said. ‘But that does not justify violence.’
The comments echoed what Biden said on the campaign trail, as former President Donald Trump tried to make the election about Black Lives versus Blue Lives Matter.
The president also revealed that he had watched the ‘fairly graphic’ body camera footage of Wright being shot.
‘The question is whether it was an accident or intentional? That remains to be determined,’ Biden said.
The president said he hadn’t spoken to members of Wright’s family yet.
‘We should listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm,’ Biden said.
Protesters and law enforcement clashed Sunday and Monday night, with the state calling up the National Guard.
When asked if he expected the country to be on ‘razor’s edge’ over this latest killing of a black man by a police officer, the president said he wasn’t going to speculate now.
‘I’m hopeful that there will be an outcome that will be supported by the vast majority of people in the region and that is my expectation,’ Biden said.
Federal resources were already going to the area in anticipation of the end of Derek Chauvin’s trial.
Chauvin is on trial for the Memorial Day 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which reignited the mass Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer.
On Monday, the police chief for Minneapolis’ Brooklyn Center, the suburb where the shooting occurred, explained that a senior female police officer seemingly pulled out her gun instead of her taser, killing 20-year-old Wright.
The cop was later identified as Kimberly Potter, a 25-year veteran of the force.
‘This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright,’ said Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.
However Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, called for Potter to be jailed for ‘not knowing the difference between a fully loaded pistol and a Taser.’
She told CNN: ‘Accident? An accident? No, come on now! I own a 20,000 volt Taser. They don’t feel nothing like a gun.’ She said, of Potter and her police colleagues: ‘My family’s blood is on their hands.
Police had pulled Wright over for what they said were expired license plate tags, his family has denied that the tags were expired. When police ran his name, they realized he had an outstanding warrant, they said.
The warrant was for a misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol without permit and misdemeanor fleeing police, NBC Minneapolis reported. His aunt has said the warrant was for ‘just some weed.’
When cops asked Wright to get out of the car, he did, but then got back into the car and tried to flee; that’s when Potter shot him. He was able to drive away for a time, until he crashed. Wright, who had a one-year-old son, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center on Sunday after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk