During his Thursday night town hall on ABC, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden again said law enforcement should just shoot violent suspects in the leg to avoid fatalities.
“There’s a lot of things we’ve learned and it takes time, but we can do this,” Biden said at the event, as transcribed by Fox News. “You can ban chokeholds … you have to teach people how to de-escalate circumstances. … Instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg.”
Police officers and heads of law enforcement groups have since blasted the former vice president for his comments, Fox News reported.
The Detectives’ Endowment Association, which represents more than 20,000 active and retired New York City detectives, tweeted that Biden’s comments “demonstrates his incompetence & inability to understand the grave dangers cops face as they protect the public and themselves from violent, heartless criminals.”
John Evans, a Trump supporter and president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, called Biden’s suggestion that police shoot violent criminals in the leg “absolutely ridiculous” and “incredibly ignorant.”
“The guy’s clueless,” Evans told Fox. “And I know he’s just trying to appease his left-wing base but it’s a really foolish statement.”
He also explained that if an officer attempts to shoot someone in the leg and misses, the situation would become dangerous for the officer involved. “If an individual is coming at you with a knife and you shoot for the leg and you miss, he’s on you,” he said.
Joe Gamaldi, vice president of the national Fraternal Order of Police, also had some harsh words for Biden’s suggestion, calling it “”completely ridiculous, “unrealistic” and a “pandering talking point.”
“Shootings are dynamic situations and we shoot to stop the threat,” Gamaldi told Fox. “It’s incredibly difficult to hit a moving target.”
Gamaldi’s organization has endorsed President Donald Trump, the outlet reported.
Biden’s suggestion is unrealistic given the circumstances that usually lead to police shooting a suspect.
“By aiming at legs we are much more likely to miss and we already only hit roughly 50% of the time,” Gamaldi explained. He went on to describe a moment 14 years ago where he had to shoot a suspect. “Between being terrified I was going to die, someone shooting at me, and then I need to aim at their legs — it’s not realistic.”
Further, shooting someone in the leg could still kill them, the officials told Fox, since they could potentially hit the femoral artery.
Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, called Biden’s suggestion a “myth” that others have fallen for as well.
“That myth has been around for a long time. And a lot of Democrats and Republicans have fallen for it,” Schrad told Fox. “To be honest with you, Joe Biden has actually been fairly supportive of law enforcement and he’s done a lot over the years in different areas supportive of law enforcement. So it’s unfortunate that he would not know that that’s not a [viable] training tactic in law enforcement.”
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