FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden Call Black Americans ‘Super Predators’ In 1994?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 700 times claims Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called black people “super predators” in 1994.

Verdict: False

Biden did not call black people “super predators” in 1994. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the phrase in 1996 while defending the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post claims that Biden called members of the black community “super predators” in 1994, the same year the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. Biden, who was a senator at the time, played a key role in its passage, according to Reuters.

There is, however, no record of Biden calling black Americans “super predators” while discussing the 1994 crime law. A search of the congressional record and media reports turned up no instances of Biden using the phrase in such a manner.

During a 1996 speech at Keene State College, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton used the phrase “super predators” while voicing support for the 1994 crime law, a video from C-SPAN shows. She linked the term to “gangs of kids.”

“We need to take these people on, they are often connected to big drug cartels, they are not just gangs of kids anymore,” Clinton said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Clinton apologized for using the term during the 2016 presidential election cycle, telling the Washington Post, “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.”

Biden has used the term “super predators” before, but that instance occurred while he was arguing that most youths in the justice system weren’t violent, according to CNN. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Say He Grew Up In Section 8 Housing?)

“In 1994, there were about 1.5 million juvenile delinquency cases,” Biden said during a 1997 hearing. “Less than 10% of those cases involved violent crimes. So when we talk about the juvenile justice system, we have to remember that most of the youth involved in the system are not the so-called ‘super predators.'”

It is worth noting that, per CNN, Biden did once warn of “predators on our streets” who were “beyond the pale” during a 1993 speech. “They are beyond the pale many of those people, beyond the pale,” Biden said. “And it’s a sad commentary on society. We have no choice but to take them out of society.”

President Donald Trump has claimed on several occasions that Biden called black people “super predators.” Check Your Fact addressed Trump’s recent instance of doing so during the second and final 2020 presidential debate on Oct. 22.

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Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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