The challenges ahead would overshadow this episode by an order of magnitude.
The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white officer in 2014 ushered in a new period of uproar in law enforcement and race relations. The federal government was immediately involved, with the Justice Department opening an investigation using the power it had been given two decades earlier – by the same 1994 criminal law that Mr Biden had led and police groups had led. defended. In the summer of 2016, a climate of crisis had set in, as the country faced the successive murders of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, in Louisiana and Minnesota, and officers in Dallas.
For Mr. Biden, it was no longer possible to focus on the mechanics of fighting crime on issues of race.
Mr Biden has repeatedly summoned union leaders and leaders to his residence and office, and supported an administrative task force tasked with drafting a reform agenda. Ms Robinson, who co-chaired the panel, said Mr Biden’s involvement helped gain cooperation from suspicious police groups, calling it ‘a reflection of his real sensitivity to the tone, the way things are are received and the role it can play. in these situations. “
Ronald L. Davis, a member of the task force that previously headed the federal community-based policing program, which funds policing, said Biden had insisted the group should “find real solutions ”, not just generating a report. (The group’s work has been largely dismantled by the Trump administration.)
Without Mr Biden’s involvement, it is possible that an insurmountable rift could have opened between the administration and crucial law enforcement groups. Mr Wexler described a session at the Naval Observatory in the aftermath of Ferguson, when police chiefs and union leaders disagreed.
“The police chiefs were pushing for reform, the unions were digging and Biden welcomed us all into his home,” Wexler said. “He was doing the mediation, in the sense that he let people talk, and at the very least he was the organizer, because everyone knew him.
But while Mr Biden’s ease and concern for cops helped bring police groups to the table, some law enforcement officials felt a growing sense of grievance as the administration embarked on a reform program. . Mr. Pasco, of the Fraternal Order of Police, said that despite all of Mr. Biden’s sincere advocacy, he was still “on the anti-police side of these issues.”