Prior to the Rittenhouse ruling, the President was in contact with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to discuss security in Kenosha. According to one person with direct knowledge of the conversations, he has been calling law enforcement agencies over the past few months to assess their frustrations. And last week – as the Rittenhouse jury advised – he signed three bills increasing the benefits to local and state law enforcement while his Justice Department released $ 139 million to fund more police officers across the country. At the same time, a department of the DOJ is working with local community groups to train leaders in de-escalation techniques.
That’s a stark contrast to Rittenhouse’s exuberant hug on the right, interrupted by the 18-year-old’s long interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson and a visit to Trump in Mar-a-Lago. But for Biden, trying to bring the temperature down comes with its own risk, namely that voters on both ends of the political spectrum will want more from him.
“He had to adjust his positions to reflect the ingrained beliefs and hopes and hopes of everyone on the left, right, and center. And often other people on the left, right, or middle – sometimes all – feel that the president is not giving us everything we need or what we work for, ”said Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Brotherhood of Police Order. “He tries to give everyone the best they can get in a united country.”
Biden has long denied calls by his own party’s left wing to “expose the police” and vowed during the 2020 presidential campaign to instead invest more money in police departments. Amid a surge in violent crime in major cities across the country last year, he has signaled law enforcement agencies that he has their backs covered. At the same time, he has promised civil rights activists and other progressives that he will push ahead with substantial police reform. He has also spoken out against vigilante groups, as the actions of Rittenhouse featured when he shot three people and killed two in the midst of violent confrontations following the racial justice protests in Kenosha last year.
However, the jury found that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense in view of his cases. And Biden’s administration has so far failed to get police reform through Congress, where comprehensive bipartisan legislation has stalled.
The left is getting impatient. The failure of negotiations in Congress only added to their frustration at the inaction and fueled calls for a filibuster change. While the White House has announced that the president intends to sign executive ordinances to prevent a law enforcement handover, Pasco said those would only apply to federal law enforcement agencies, which make up about 5 percent of the total police force in the country.
Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright said Biden was “definitely not fast enough. Not only in terms of legislation, but also in terms of executive measures that he could take. ”
Although Albright eventually said that the GOP was to blame for “never seriously enacting such laws,” he said that police reform “definitely took a back seat” [Biden’s] Economic Agenda “.
Civil rights activists say they are still pushing the government to focus on measures to reform law enforcement practices, pointing to ongoing allegations of excessive violence against the police.
“We’re focused on helping the DOJ’s civil rights departments – actions plus words count on these issues, and we’re seeing a newly assertive DOJ that takes its role seriously – as opposed to the misconduct and neglect of the previous DOJ, which was spectacular Tasks, ”said Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League.
Their sense of urgency was reflected in the reaction of the left to the judgments of Rittenhouse and Arbery.
“What we are seeing is a system that works as planned and protects those for whom it was designed,” tweeted MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) after Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges.
“Our justice system is broken. It protects the supremacy of whites, ”added Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Twitter after Rittenhouse’s verdict. “The two people killed deserved justice, as did our communities that continue to be victims of such violence.”
Biden, on the other hand, took a cautious approach to the news that Rittenhouse had been evacuated by two people in the shootings and said he accepted the jury’s verdict. However, later that day, he added in a statement that the Kenosha verdict “will make many Americans angry and concerned, including me.” But he repeated: “We have to acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”
After the three men charged with Arbery’s murder were found guilty, Biden issued a similarly calm, if somber, statement calling the murder “a devastating reminder of how far we have come in this fight for racial justice.” Land must go “. He made only a vague indication of how his administration would approach reforms in the criminal justice system, saying it would “continue to work hard to ensure that equal justice is not just a sentence set in stone above the Supreme Court, but” a reality for all Americans. ”
The Biden Justice Department has taken a similarly cautious approach. It concluded that it would not bring charges against the police involved in the 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man who was paralyzed after a white officer shot him while Blake tried to escape which sparked the Kenosha protests that drew Rittenhouse and others into town. The shooting occurred shortly after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minn. On the campaign trail, Biden stated that officials should be charged “at least”. He also linked Rittenhouse with white racists during the presidential campaign.
The mix of violence and racial tension ended up being the focus of the 2020 presidential campaign for much of the summer, with both Trump and Biden visiting Wisconsin after the Blake shooting and the deadly protest in which Rittenhouse killed two people.
But things have changed dramatically since then. Last week after the Rittenhouse ruling, Kenosha remained calm. While some protesters stood on the steps of the courthouse with signs holding vigil during the trial, their protests did not become violent.
“President Biden has promised to bring the temperature down in our politics and bring Americans together,” said White House spokesman Mike Gwin. “We know there is still much to be done, but the President has helped us in great and small ways to turn the page of the hateful, divisive rhetoric we saw from the previous White House poisoning our country.”