In last year's State of the Union address, President Biden called for funding the police. That was not in this year’s speech. Instead, he focused on cops violating the trust between police and communities, Politico reports. There’s a lot of pressure on the subject after police officers beat Tyre Nichols to death in Memphis last month. The Congressional Black Caucus pressed Biden to use his bully pulpit to build support for legislation Welcoming Nichols' parents to the talk, Biden said, "Public safety depends on public trust, as all of us know. But too often that trust is violated." He added, " Most of us in here have never had to have the talk, the talk that brown and Black parents had to have with their children ... That if a police officer pulls you over, turn your lights on right away. Don't reach for your license. Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Imagine having to worry like that every single time your kid got in a car."
The president said, "We know police officers put their lives on the line every single night and day, and we know we ask of them to do too much. To be counselors, social workers, psychologists, responding to drug overdoses, mental health crises, and more. In one sense we ask much too much of them. I know most cops are good, decent people. The vast majority ... But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better. Give law enforcement the real training they need, hold them to higher standards, help them succeed in keeping us safe. We also need more first responders and professionals to address growing mental health and substance abuse challenges. More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime. More community intervention programs. More investments in housing, education and job training." Biden also made a plea to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons. He said, "I led the fight to do that in 1994. In the 10 years the ban was law, mass shootings went down. After it expired, during the Republican administration, mass shootings tripled. Let's finish the job."