According to news reports, three White House officials will be attending the funeral for Michael Brown today. Vice President Joe Biden will not be attending and that is no surprise. Why? Because the Brown family has been demanding a vigorous, impartial investigation into the shooting and Biden is fond of saying that he “has the back” of the police force. Biden’s presence would be awkward, to say the least.
Here is a clip where Biden is urging a police audience to get behind President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor.
Biden has kept a low profile since the unrest began in Ferguson–and no wonder. The last thing protesters there want to hear is that the White House “has the back” of the police. Indeed, that’s why there is so much concern about the local county prosecutor who is handling the investigation and why there have been calls for Governor Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor. A special prosecutor would be more likely to follow the evidence impartially.
Beyond the Brown shooting, we have seen other abuses by the police there. The false arrest of reporters, the tear gas rounds fired into the yards of homes, and the reckless weapon handling by officers against protestors. One wonders if Biden has been on the phone to Obama … saying the administration’s approach thus far has been all wrong… It should “have the back” of the police–not the reporters, the residents, the protesters.
Beyond Ferguson, African-Americans (and others) have been protesting in other cities. On Saturday, thousands of New Yorkers turned out to protest the killing of Eric Garner by New York City police. Other cities have other incidents to relate.
Make no mistake, Biden has been part of the problem. The long simmering tensions in communities around the country did not spring out of nowhere. Misguided policies and unaccountable bureaucracies bear much of the blame. And so do powerful politicians like Biden, who have been deaf to the cries of police abuse and harassment.