Joe Biden Says ‘Protesting Is Right And Necessary,’ But ‘Violence That Endangers Lives Is Not’

Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd during a campaign event at Wofford Universit in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Sean Rayford / Getty Images

In a statement released on Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden responded to unrest and protests in major cities across the nation, Axios reported.

The protests began following the death of George Floyd, an African American man from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd was held down and choked by a white police officer. Some of the protests have turned violent.

“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response,” the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee stated, condemning riots and violence.

“But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” he continued.

The Democrat said that he plans on keeping his promise to Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, that “George will not just be a hashtag.”

“We must and will get to a place where everyone, regardless of race, believes that ‘to protect and serve’ means to protect and serve them,” Biden said.

Biden has discussed Floyd’s death at great length. The former vice president has repeatedly argued that the police officers involved need to face justice. During a town hall event earlier this week, Biden discussed Floyd’s death as a consequence of systemic racism in the United States.

Biden has also criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the protests. On Friday, Biden condemned Trump’s calls to send the National Guard to break up the demonstrations in Minneapolis.

On Saturday, as BBC reported, Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Tim Walz mobilized the state’s National Guard. The governor took the unprecedented step after stating that the protests were “no longer in any way” about 46-year-old Floyd’s tragic death. Military force may reportedly be used as well.

The riots have reignited discussions about policy brutality, which appears to have already had an impact on the 2020 presidential race and Biden’s campaign. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was reportedly seen as the frontrunner for the position of Biden’s running mate, but her background as prosecutor has apparently forced Democrats and activists to reconsider.

Biden is now being urged to pick an African American woman as his running mate. Of the prominent black women on Biden’s alleged shortlist, two — Florida Rep. Val Demings and California Sen. Kamala Harris — have law enforcement backgrounds.

Furthermore, Biden himself recently made a race-related gaffe. During a radio interview, the former vice president said that African Americans who are undecided between him and Trump “ain’t black.”