Biden DOJ to seek death penalty against white supremacist Buffalo shooter

 January 16, 2024

The Biden Justice Department will seek the death penalty against the white supremacist Buffalo shooter even though President Joe Biden has said that he is against the death penalty from a moral standpoint.

Payton Grendon killed 10 Black people at a grocery store in May 2022 when he was just 18 years old. He has already been convicted in state court and sentenced to life without parole.

Grendon's defense team said he would consider pleading guilty to more than two dozen federal offenses if the death penalty was taken off the table, but Biden's DOJ can't help themselves.

It shows their true morality--or Biden's at least--that trying to put Grendon to death is considered morally superior to avoiding the death penalty.

"Deeply disappointed"

Grendon's attorneys said in a statement that they were "deeply disappointed" by the decision to seek the death penalty.

"Rather than a prolonged and traumatic capital prosecution, the efforts of the federal government would be better spent on combating the forces that facilitated this terrible crime, including easy access to deadly weapons and the failure of social media companies to moderate the hateful rhetoric and images that circulate online," they said.

The attorneys are making a great point: the Biden DOJ decision will be symbolic at best and will do little to solve the actual problem of white supremacy, as limited as it is in society today.

It is the first time Biden's DOJ has decided to seek the death penalty in any case; Attorney General Merrick Garland has pursued the death penalty for two other mass shooters, but the initial decision was made during the Trump administration.

Biden campaigned against the death penalty in 2020.

"Terrible thing"

Garland is in the middle of a moratorium on federal executions that started in 2021, but that doesn't prevent him from pursuing the death penalty in pending cases.

Biden says his stance has not changed, but that the Justice Department makes sentencing decisions.

One family member of Grendon's victims said he did not favor the death penalty in the case.

"I don't wish the death penalty on you," Wayne Jones, whose 65-year-old mother, Celestine Chaney, was gunned down, said. "I wish they keep you alive so you have to suffer with the thought of what you did for the rest of your life."

Grendon apologized at his state sentencing for his actions and the racial component of them, saying he was "very sorry for all the pain" he caused and "for stealing the lives of your loved ones."

"I did a terrible thing that day,” he acknowledged, “I shot people because they were Black."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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