Symone Sanders on Biden’s Crime Record: Don’t Enjoy Relitigating 90s, Crime Bill Has Context, Gave Us Means to Hold Cops Accountable

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “All In,” Biden Senior Adviser Symone Sanders discussed Biden’s crime record by stating that she doesn’t like trying to relitigate things from the early 90s, the context of rampant crime and demands for reform at the time of the crime bill are important, and that the crime bill created the pattern or practice investigation, which is “the only measure that we currently have to hold rogue police departments accountable.”

Host Chris Hayes asked, “Joe Biden, of course, has unveiled a bunch of reform measures, some of them in line with the House Democratic package. Some people have noted that Biden is an interesting fit for this moment. Joe Biden has a long career in public life. He has been a law and order kind of politician at many points in his life. He was an architect — one of the architects of the crime bill. He’s been endorsed by the police union in his home state of Delaware. He’s called for harsher penalties on people that threw raves or things like that. I guess my question to you is, do you think — has Joe Biden changed the way he views the American criminal justice system or policing, or have the times changed? How do you see that trajectory?”

Sanders responded, “Well, Chris, I really do not enjoy attempting to, relitigate what was happening in the early ’90s when I was like three years old, but I think context is important here. And –.”

Hayes cut in to counter, “Well, you work for Joe Biden, though. I mean, he was there.”

Sanders then stated, “Look, the context is important here, though, Chris. And I will tell you that, at the time of the crime bill, there was rampant crime in this country. Mayors, pastors, folks all across the board were crying out for reform. But here’s the important point here, that the only mechanism we currently have in this country to hold police officers accountable was a measure that was written into the crime bill: pattern or practice investigation. That is the only measure that we currently have to hold rogue police departments accountable. It is a power that the Obama-Biden Justice Department exercised, and which resulted in consent decrees in places like Ferguson and Baltimore. And once Donald Trump came into office, it was his Justice Department, first led by Jeff Sessions, that sought to undo, specifically, the consent decree in Baltimore.”

She continued by discussing the police and criminal justice reforms that Biden has proposed, like pattern or practice reviews for prosecutors.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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