Biden says federal aid to police should be based on meeting “basic standards of decency”

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he doesn’t support defunding police, but he does support conditioning federal aid on whether police meet “certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.” Biden made the comments in an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell, as some call to “defund the police” in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” Biden told O’Donnell. “I support conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.”

Biden, as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been pushed to say where he stands on the question as some within the movement for racial equality and police reforms give voice to the slogan “defund the police” during nationwide demonstrations. A spokesman for Biden’s campaign said Monday that Biden “does not believe that police should be defunded” but “hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain.”

Biden met privately with Floyd’s family Monday, ahead of a Tuesday funeral for a man whose death in police custody has sparked a national movement. The former vice president agreed with Floyd’s young daughter who said her father would change the world. 

“Jill and I talked to ’em about — it’s hard enough to grieve, but it’s much harder to do it in public,” Biden said. “It’s much harder with the whole world watchin’ you. They’re an incredible family. His little daughter was there, the one who said, “Daddy’s gonna change the world.” And I think her daddy is gonna change the world. I think what’s happened is one of those great inflection points in American history, for real in terms of civil liberty, civil rights, and — and — just treating people with dignity.”

Watch more of O’Donnell’s exclusive interview with Biden in Tuesday’s CBS News primetime special, Justice for All, airing at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and CBSN.

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