Image copyright AFP Image caption Joe Biden said looking back at civil rights ‘makes my heart ache’
Joe Biden has firmly endorsed the conviction of the cop who killed black man Abner Louima and said he was proud that the justice system “got things right”.
Biden, former Delaware governor and current senator, expressed his outrage at the not guilty verdict earlier this month.
On Tuesday, he struck a far different tone in Philadelphia – where he went to visit a former civil rights activist and Philadelphia public school headteacher and encouraged young people to “move forward”.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Biden visited the home of high school head Tanya Brownell in Philadelphia
Biden declined to join President Donald Trump in his attacks on the judge’s decision – and reminded those at the meet-and-greet that equality and human rights must be fought for “no matter how difficult it is.”
The former vice president’s visit to Philadelphia followed a pointed tweet on the Louima case, aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, from the President.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Biden’s message hit echoes of his teenage protests
Mr Trump had accused Sessions of having “tremendous power” and suggested that he had compromised his role “for political purposes.”
After his meeting, Biden said that he was “happy” with the guilty verdict in the trial of detective James Frascatore, who has admitted to using a stun gun on Louima in 1997.
“We should all be proud that this verdict was correct and that justice was served,” he said.
“It makes my heart ache. It makes my heart ache for what happened in 1993, but we have to have a long-term solution, a systemic approach to this problem.”
Image copyright AFP Image caption Biden also met a former civil rights activist
Biden offered praise for current President Donald Trump, saying: “I’m going to tell you what I really think. What’s missing right now in this country and most of Europe, including America – and yes, Europe – is anybody who runs for higher office gets a free pass, a pass to do what they want to do.”
Biden said that he would not “tolerate” abuse in politics and said that “no matter how elected you are, when you are in office you will be held to account by the American people”.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Biden’s meeting came on the same day US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrived in the city
In his visit to Philadelphia, Biden was seen posing for pictures with school-leavers and travelling to a historic neighbourhood – Torrgomery Village – where he took students on a guided tour of a public school, Dr Tanya Brownell Learning Center.
It was at the learning centre that Biden also heard from the headteacher, who told the students that the city’s population has dropped.
Many of the students in the class are from single-parent homes and have been incarcerated.
In July 2013, Biden visited Philadelphia to announce a plan for overhauling the city’s public schools.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Biden urged young people to ‘move forward’
He spoke at the day’s events in front of the Torrnev school house – which was built in 1828 and sits on the National Register of Historic Places.