Trump, Biden square off, in a way, in dueling town halls

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at Southwest Focal Point Community Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020.

Former Vice president Joe Biden seemingly referenced the recent fatal police shooting of a Lancaster city man during his town hall event Thursday night in Philadelphia, where he faced questions from voters.

Speaking from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, talked about policing, specifically incorporating mental health professionals within police departments.

“So many cops get called into circumstances where somebody is mentally off, like what happened not long ago with that guy with the knife,” Biden said.

Ricardo Muñoz, 27, was shot and killed by a Lancaster police officer Sept. 13 on the 300 block of Laurel Street.

Police body camera footage shows Muñoz holding what investigators said was a knife while exiting a home and running toward an officer, who was responding to a domestic dispute. The officer then shot and killed Muñoz.

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams announced this week that an investigation into the shooting showed that it was justified, and the officer who shot Muñoz will not face charges.

In the wake of the shooting, Muñoz’s family members have said that the 27-year-old struggled with mental illness.

Biden continued to talk about mental illness at the Thursday town hall, hosted by ABC News ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

“That’s why we have to provide, and within police departments, psychologists and social workers to go out with the cops on those calls, those 911 calls,” he said.

Similar additions to Lancaster County police forces have been advocated for by those who protested on local streets following Muñoz’s killing, as well as the earlier police killing of George Floyd this May in Minneapolis.

As Biden appeared on stage in Philadelphia, his opponent, Republican President Donald Trump, appeared at a similar NBC News event in Miami.

Election day is Nov. 3.


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