Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the Rittenhouse Square shooting, which happened in January 2016, at length to news anchor and then-correspondent Sheinelle Jones on Wednesday. Biden talked about the promise of open casting, as well as what he had been dealing with in his own life.
On the impact of that shooting: “When it happened, I was really shocked. And I’m really glad that it happened. I think, look. There was an older African-American man in an apartment building in Philadelphia and we were holding a conversation in the elevator at the same time as this guy opens fire on him. I’m sure the guy went into fear. And he gets a little upset. The guy had seen his grandson before that day, I think. And he brought his gun in, in the vestibule of an apartment building. He held a gun to the faces of the elderly man in the elevator. And the kid’s not in that elevator. But that’s the kind of thing that can happen. That’s the kind of violence that is endemic and part of African-American life … but the primary reason why I was so stunned … was that it could happen in Philadelphia.”
On if he worries about the issue of gun violence: “I think this is not just an African-American problem and, no, we’re a country that has great problems. But we have to understand, this is the most profound evil that we have. In people’s young lives, loss of life. And people become addicted and they lose control and they take someone’s life.”
He also spoke about the systematic racism that he said persists in society, and he said he was following the case of Will Smith, who died after a brutal shooting outside a casino in Las Vegas.
On the still need for a reform of the judicial system: “I have a number of situations like this over the last 25, 30 years … where I had the good fortune to work with police departments. And a lot of times I had time with certain judges. And sometimes it seemed like it was purely based on race … That’s why I introduced this particular reform in my case. So much of the time, the old familiar pattern and routine would set in … Sometimes there would be issues of police misconduct. Sometimes there would be incidents. So, a mistake would be made … we tend to jettison those cases because we lost. But some judges would just simply flip the bird. They would just go, ‘The best thing we could do for you is to dismiss this case,’ because they did not have the training that I had, they did not have the training that some of my colleagues had. And part of it is about parity — there should be more resources for those judges … If we make ourselves equally prepared, we’re going to have more judges. And there’s going to be more justice.”