Biden senior advisor Cedric Richmond recalls violent police encounter as Morehouse student

Exclusive: Richmond, who serves as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, also previews President Biden's joint address to Congress

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Americans and the international community will be tuned in Wednesday night for President Joe Biden’s address in the Well of the House. 

Cedric Richmond, senior advisor to the president, told theGrio that the administration is excited to “celebrate the fact that it’s been a historic one hundred days driven by purpose to get this country back on track” and one of “purpose.”

Read More: Biden senior advisor Cedric Richmond on how American Rescue Plan benefits Black communities

Cedric Richmond
Cedric Richmond speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill on February 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Biden will deliver his first address to congressional leaders minus the usual number of cabinet officials to accommodate congressional leaders who are invited to attend the event under strict COVID-19 protocols.  

Former U.S. Congressman Richmond will not be in attendance for the speech in person but plans to watch it on TV. The New Orleans native believes the public will get the president’s take on a “range of issues.” The former congressman anticipates the president will present broad plans to take on the host of issues facing the nation.

“Investment,” on an array of issues, will be a theme that ties together the broad plans targeting everything from COVID to jobs. 

Read More: Rep. Karen Bass expects ‘uplifting message’ from Biden on policing in joint address to Congress

“[President Biden] will talk about the rescue plan and how we were able to really get COVID moving in the right direction. We came in with 8.6 million vaccines being distributed,” Richmond adds. “We did twenty eight million last week, we vaccinated over two hundred thousand people and ninety two days, so it will be with that seriousness of purpose that he delivers the speech tonight and that we won’t stop there.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated pocketbooks and destroyed jobs. President Biden is expected to discuss jobs through infrastructure, and the senior official highlighted that racial equity will be at the heart of Biden’s plan to invest in American families. 

Richmond reveals, “We want to remediate transportation infrastructure that split communities. We want to invest in education. And then if you look at the American Families Plan, he’s going to talk about investing in families and especially families that have been marginalized to empower them to reach their destiny no matter where they started.”

While the White House is letting Congress take the lead on policing policy, the topic is most definitely going to be touched upon after the recent weeks of Derek Chauvin being found guilty in the murder of George Floyd, charges against Minnesota police officer Kim Potter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright and calls for police cam video to be released in the most recent police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. 

Richmond said, “we can’t act like it doesn’t happen. And the thing is, it’s all on tape. People can see it.” 

As a Black man, Richmond has seen good policing and remembers bad experiences, including one he had when as a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rep Cedric Richmond (D-LA) throws a pitch during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

“Unfortunately, I was at a party and, you know, I did a crazy thing, which means I broke up a fight … I knew both sides. Police officer ran up. I threw my hands up and I said, whoa, it’s not what you think. And before I could finish, he hit me several times, knocked me to the ground,” Richmond recalled. 

“But fortunately, they had police officers around him that stopped him and pulled him off of me. And so, you know, the duty to intervene is real.”

The president is a proponent of community policing to change the tide of these deadly interactions with police and the Black Community. 

“You’ve got to weed out bad police officers and you have to weed out bad police policy and you have to do both,” he said. “And so that’s the goal of it.” 

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