Biden tells a bizarre story about visiting a crime-heavy area of Delaware that was home to “the best basketball in the state.”
- He made the comments in a speech in Wiles-Barre, Pennsylvania
- He vowed to renew the ban on assault weapons and called for funding for more police
- The President also proposed community police initiatives
- Mentions trips he and his late son Beau made to a rough area in East Wilmington
- He made comments at an event where he railed against “MAGA Republicans” supporting an attempt to overturn the 2020 election
- “You’re either on the Mafia side or on the police side,” he said
President Joe Biden called for a return to community policing on Tuesday while recalling trips he and his late son Beau Biden had made to rough neighborhoods of Wilmington in previous years, adding this is the place to be see the “best basketball”.
Biden said and his son, who served as attorney general, used to urge cops to turn over their cellphones and deal directly with the communities they were tasked with protecting.
He brought up a now-demolished housing project known as “the bucket.”
“And he used to go down to the east side, called the Bucket, with the highest crime rate in the country. There’s a place where I was the only white lifeguard in that area, on the East Side,” he said.
“And you could always tell where the best basketball in the state is, the best basketball in the city, where everyone’s showing up,” he said.
President Joe Biden recalled visiting troubled neighborhoods in East Wilmington during a speech in Pennsylvania. He called for a return to the municipal police force
He went down and sat on a bench with my grandson who is now 17 years old. And the police used to be in the car – local, city police. And he would go up and bang on a window and say, ‘Get out of the car, dammit, meet these people. Let them see you. Let them know you. Let them know who you are,” as Biden put it.
Then Biden brought up the 1992 crime bill he helped draft, on a day when Biden and his White House team were emphasizing more investment in the police — in direct contrast to the “defund the police” movement. The law’s tougher penalties have drawn criticism amid complaints of mass incarceration rates in recent years. It also included funds for communities to hire police officers.
“Do you remember what happened to the municipal police? We no longer had enough cops on the streets, but cities that are doing well and deciding they don’t need more cops. So they reduced the police force. So they didn’t have two cops in every vehicle. They had a policeman in every vehicle. And I don’t blame any cop for not getting out in certain neighborhoods, not getting out of the car,” he said.
Biden mentioned his time as a 19-year-old lifeguard at a Wilmington pool, where most of the swimmers were African American
Biden makes a stop at The Warehouse, a community center for teens in East Wilmington, on November 3, 2020—election day—in Wilmington, Delaware
The president said people in East Wilmington at the time were afraid to contact the police for retaliation
He said his son would “make sure every single police officer gives their cell phone number to the local liquor store owner, the local church, the local grocery store and the local hamburger joint.” So if there’s a problem, pick up the phone and call,” he said.
Biden then shared a story from his own visit to the East Side, where he told of a now-deceased woman who complained of gang violence in her area. “I have a phone number from the local police.”
“She called, they promised not to identify her because they knew there would be retribution. And the crime rate started going down — really, no kidding,” she said.
Biden previously mentioned being a 19-year-old lifeguard during the campaign. People who met Biden poolside recalled that he was one of a handful of white lifeguards who worked at the pool, where swimmers were predominantly black.