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Biden Calls For 'Swift' Investigation Into Brunswick Area Killing In Virtual Roundtable

Joe Biden
Matt Rourke
Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday linked the killing of a young black man in South Georgia to a “rising pandemic of hate” he said requires new focus on mending racial inequities.

Ahmaud Arbery was “shot down in cold blood,” Biden said during an online “African American roundtable” for his presidential campaign, comparing video of the shooting to seeing him “lynched before our very eyes.”

The Associated Press reported Biden called into the roundtable from his home in Delaware.

He said Arbery’s family deserves “a swift, full and transparent investigation” into the February shooting, which happened after two armed white men encountered Arbery, 25, while he was jogging through a Glynn County, Ga. neighborhood.

Related: Jacksonville Attorney Says Fatal Brunswick Area Shooting Reminds Him of Trayvon Martin Case

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said this week it was investigating several aspects of the killing, which has been the focus of protests in Glynn County and extensive media discussion. No on has been charged in the killing, although a prosecutor has said the case will be brought to a grand jury once coronavirus restrictions affecting the courts are lifted.

Biden mentioned the killing at the start of a talk where he emphasized a commitment to address racial disparities in wealth, employment and health issues including exposure to pollution.

He repeatedly mentioned an agenda for black America his campaign had recently completed and said that as president he would support steps to improve opportunities for people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. 

“Nobody gets hurt if you raise the bottom,” he said. “People are breaking their necks. …They deserve to be treated with dignity.”

He told about 50 people in the virtual gathering, which was predominately black, that supporters of his campaign could help heal a country he said has become more divided an unequal under President Donald Trump.   

“I’m going to need you if we win,” he said.

This story is comprised of a pool report filed by The Florida Times-Union's Steve Patterson, who was granted access to the virtual roundtable. The Times-Union is a WJCT News partner.