Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden offered a lesson in ignorance when he talked about training police to shoot potential threats in the leg, according to several members of law enforcement groups.
On Thursday, during a town hall on ABC, Biden said police have to change their ways in the new environment brought about by the death of George Floyd in May.
“You can ban chokeholds, but beyond that you have to teach people how to de-escalate circumstances. De-escalate. So instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg.”
The New York City-based Detectives Endowment Association fired back that Biden did not know what he was talking about.
“Former VP Joe Biden’s suggestion that cops should ‘shoot someone in the leg’ if they’re coming at them is insulting and demonstrates his incompetence & inability to understand the grave dangers cops face as they protect the public and themselves from violent, heartless criminals,” it tweeted.
Former VP Joe Biden’s suggestion that cops should “shoot someone in the leg” if they’re coming at them is insulting and demonstrates his incompetence & inability to understand the grave dangers cops face as they protect the public and themselves from violent, heartless criminals. pic.twitter.com/7faAJjCoyZ
— Detectives’ Endowment Association (@NYCPDDEA) October 16, 2020
BREAKING: Biden tonight in ABC town hall said police shouldn’t shoot center mass at dangerous criminal who comes at them threatening their lives with weapon — as every PD in USA trains them to do — but to just “shoot them in the leg.”
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) October 16, 2020
This is one of those moments that you just have to watch to believe it’s real. Joe Biden really thinks police should just shoot at attackers’ legs to stop them so that they don’t die. He couldn’t be any more out of touch with reality. https://t.co/GeAi9fjPyw
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) October 16, 2020
“The guy’s clueless,” John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association told Fox News. “And I know he’s just trying to appease his left-wing base but it’s a really foolish statement.”
He called the comment “absolutely ridiculous” and “incredibly ignorant.”
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Joe Gamaldi, vice president of the national Fraternal Order of Police, told Fox News that Biden mouthed a “pandering talking point.”
“Shootings are dynamic situations and we shoot to stop the threat,” Gamaldi said. “It’s incredibly difficult to hit a moving target.”
Police are currently trained to aim at a person’s torso, which is known as center mass, because by aiming there they are most likely to hit the individual.
“By aiming at legs we are much more likely to miss and we already only hit roughly 50 percent of the time,” Gamaldi said.
Evans said the consequences of a miss worries officers more than it appears to worry Biden.
“If an individual is coming at you with a knife and you shoot for the leg and you miss, he’s on you,” said Evans.
In an Op-Ed on Reason, Robby Soave said Biden’s repetition of a talking point he used before was a mistake, saying that the response “stuck out for its sheer absurdity. The suggestion betrays a total lack of understanding about how guns work.”
“If an officer’s life is actually threatened, hitting the suspect in the leg is no guarantee the threat will be neutralized. People who have been hit in the leg or arm are not immediately incapacitated, which is why the police keep firing until a suspect is down. Real life is not like an episode of ’24,’ or a ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie!” Soave wrote.
“It’s true that some police officers are too eager to fire their weapons in the first place, and idiotic police tactics — like no-knock raids — place them in situations where overreactions are likely to occur. But the public policy intervention needs to occur before the shooting starts. Shooting to wound is not a realistic tactic in the vast majority of cases, and it’s embarrassing that Biden doesn’t know this.”
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