Biden Attacks Booker's Mayoral Record on Policing

Newark PD investigated for misconduct while Booker was mayor

Former Vice President Joe Biden / Getty Images
July 24, 2019

Former vice president and leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a swipe at Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) on the campaign trail Wednesday afternoon, noting Newark police use of stop-and-frisk.

Earlier in the week after Biden released a criminal justice reform plan, Booker described the Biden as "the proud architect of a failed system" and criticized Biden's support of the 1994 crime bill which drastically increased incarceration rates in the United States, especially for African-American men.

"You created this system. We'll dismantle it," Booker added in a tweet from his personal account implicitly directed at Biden.

While campaigning in Detroit Wednesday, Biden spoke with the media and responded to Booker's criticism.

"Cory knows that's not true," Biden said about Booker's claim Biden is "the proud architect" of the American criminal justice system. Biden then appeared to preview some potential lines of attack against Booker ahead of the second Democratic debate at the end of July.

"His [Booker's] police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African-American men, we took action against them," Biden said. "The Justice Department took action against them and held the police department accountable."

In 2014 the Department of Justice announced it would be placing the Newark Police Department under a federal watchdog after a multi-year investigation into the department's use of force and abusive practices. The investigation began in 2011 while Booker was still mayor of the city after the ACLU filed a petition to the Department of Justice requesting the federal department look into accusations of rampant misconduct by the police force.

"If he wants to go back and talk about records I'm happy to do that but I'd rather talk about the future," Biden added when talking to the media scrum.

Later Wednesday afternoon the Biden campaign released a longer critique of Booker's record on criminal justice during his tenure as Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.
"The absurdity of this attack is obvious," Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield stated. "Almost 90% of all people incarcerated in America are in state and local prisons and jails for violating state laws -- laws that Joe Biden, of course, did not write."

The former vice president and New Jersey senator are slated to appear together at the second Democratic presidential primary debate on July 31st.