Joe Biden, with no fanfare, visited wounded HPD officer after 2019 debate

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Thursday, January 21, 2021
HPD officer injured after 2019 debate speaks of private visit from Biden
It's a secret that's been kept for over a year but now, we're hearing more about it from the officer injured in the line of duty, who says Joe Biden's visit uplifted his spirits. Watch the full interview in the video above.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the midst of the pomp and circumstance of President Joe Biden's inauguration, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Tuesday revealed the man who would become the 46th president reached out to him about visiting a wounded officer in the hospital back in 2019.

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In a series of tweets, Acevedo said the request was made in the days after Texas Southern University hosted the Democratic Presidential Debate, which involved then-VP Biden and then-Sen. Kamala Harris. On the same night the event was held, an officer was shot just a mile away from campus.

ABC13 spoke with Officer Taylor Roccaforte about the events of that night. He said he was tasked with security around the debate, but when a string of armed robberies happened nearby, he jumped in to help.

"We heard three people had been carjacked, so we made our way to the area, found the robbers, and engaged in a pursuit with them. I ended up struggling with the suspect and getting shot three times," Roccaforte said.

Roccaforte said he was shot once on the chest, once on his lower abdomen, and once on his side. Two of the shots were stopped by his vest, but one. Roccaforte said the shot to his lower abdomen did a lot of damage, which almost caused him to bleed to death.

"I was so fortunate to have my brother and sister officers get me to the hospital," he said. "Had a SWAT doctor there and then I met my, now, one of my best friends Dr. Ethan Todd."

Because of his injuries, Roccaforte was in the hospital for about a week. It was during that week that he got that special visit from Biden.

According to Chief Acevedo's tweets, Biden reached out to him to check in on Roccaforte and to make an offer.

"If you think it would be helpful to his spirit and recovery, I would like to visit him at the hospital. No media, I am (sic) simply want to lift his spirits," Acevedo recalled Biden saying.

The chief continued, saying he and Biden visited the officer and his family.

Meeting Biden is something Roccaforte said was surreal.

"I was not expecting that. I just woke up one morning my dad said, 'Hey get ready for the vice president come to meet us,'" he recalled. "It was just as hard to believe it at first. Somebody this famous, and a political person like this, they're in my room wanting to talk to me and it was pretty surreal."

Roccaforte said he and Biden talked one-on-one about life, struggles in life, and overcoming different obstacles. But what Roccaforte said made this special was not being in the spotlight.

"I've never been one to want to be in the spotlight, so that's what was special about this event. When it happened, I didn't have cameras in my face. When it happened, it was just me and [Biden] in a room, and it wasn't politically politicized and it was just us talking," he said.

The photos of the meet were shared on social media by Chief Acevedo, who also gave his reason to reveal a story that went untold for more than a year.

"I share this today to illustrate the decency of the man who we now call Mr. President, although he prefers to be called Joe," said the chief.

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