Former President Barack Obama said Thursday that it is past time to do something about racially biased policing, a problem his administration faced and that exploded into nationwide protests under President Donald Trump.
In a campaign video with his vice president and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, Obama said race remains a problem in America, including “how communities of color are policed, how, you know, police are interacting and, and oftentimes acting in ways that are racially biased.”
Obama, the first Black president, said protests that erupted nationwide after the death of George Floyd in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis reflected an extraordinary mobilization of every race and creed who united to say: “We’re past time to do something about this.”
“In recent weeks, there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments,” Trump said Wednesday in announcing additional deployments of federal authorities. “Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes. To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.”
The Department of Homeland Security sent federal officers to Portland to quell violence there, despite requests from the mayor and governor to leave. After sending additional federal authorities to Kansas City, Trump announced Wednesday that he extended the program to Chicago and Albuquerque.
“This bloodshed must end,” Trump said.
Hogan Gidley, a Trump campaign spokesman, said Thursday that Obama’s scripted praise couldn’t cover up Biden’s nearly 50-year legacy of failure.
“Biden’s half-century in Washington has been mired in controversy and failed socialist policies that don’t reflect our values, while in just three years, President Trump has provided every day, hard-working Americans with real success and more opportunities to reach their American Dream,” Gidley said.
Obama acknowledged having protests against racism and police violence during his administration after the 2014 shooting death by police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. But Obama contrasted his administration’s response with Trump’s, saying he drew together a task force of police chiefs, academics and members of Black Lives Matter to develop recommendations.
“Our response was not to ignore those problems,” Obama said. “And we arrived at a series of recommendations that are still pertinent to this day.”
Biden said the goal was to increase police training.
“The point was that they know they need more guidance,” Biden said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Barack Obama urges remedy for racial bias in policing in video for Biden