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Biden to Cops: ‘We Come Down on You Like a Ton of Bricks’

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks on voting rights at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas. Vice President Joe Biden is going to get a firsthand look at work done at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before another possible round of base closings, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 (AP Photo/John Locher, File) AP Photo/John Locher, File

Vice President Joe Biden praised police officers Tuesday night, while making only a subtle reference to the intense scrutiny many police department are now under following police altercations in Baltimore, New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

“What shape we’d be in as a nation if we didn’t have you doing the job. We expect you to do everything,” Biden said at the 22nd annual Top Cops Award Dinner in Washington.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the minimum wage during a roundtable discussion with business leaders in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Biden is on a six-city swing that includes stops in Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington state. (AP PhotoNick Ut) AP PhotoNick Ut (AP PhotoNick Ut) 

“We expect you to be constitutional scholars. We expect you to have instantaneous reactions to a crisis without making any mistake or without knowing what’s behind that door or what’s in that guy's pocket,” the vice president continued. “When you make a mistake, we come down on you like a ton of bricks. But you still do your job.”

The Justice Department recently opened an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department after the death of Freddie Gray. The DOJ previously opened a probe into the Ferguson, Missouri department after the death of Michael Brown.

“Being a cop is not what you do. It’s who you are. It’s steeped into your DNA,” Biden said. “Although we honor these women and men who are here because they are some of the bravest among us, some of the really bravest among us aren’t with us tonight. That’s the bitter part.”

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