Vice President Mike Pence slammed his Democratic challenger, Sen. Kamala Harris, at the Wednesday vice presidential debate over racial disparities during her time as a prosecutor.
“When you were when DA in San Francisco, when you left office, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics,” Pence told Harris (D-California).
“When you were Attorney General of California, you increased the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in California.”
He added: “You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California. You didn’t lift a finger to the First Step Act on Capitol Hill. The reality is your record speaks for itself. President Trump and I have fought for criminal justice reform… and we’ll do it for four more years.”
Harris was the district attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and oversaw 1,900 marijuana convictions, according to the Mercury News.
She did not refute Pence’s statistics, but replied: “First of all, having served as the attorney general of the state of California, the work that I did is a model of what our nation needs to do and we will be able to do under a Joe Biden presidency.”
Harris continued, “Our agenda includes what this administration has failed to do. It will be about not only instituting a ban on chokeholds and carotid holds.”
Debate moderator Susan Page of USA Today interrupted Harris, saying, “these are points that you made earlier.”
Harris pressed on, saying she was “the first statewide officer to institute a requirement that my agents would wear body cameras and keep them on full time. We were the first to initiate a requirement that there would be a training for law enforcement on implicit bias because, yes, Joe Biden and I recognize that implicit bias does exist.”
The Trump-Pence campaign previewed the attack on Harris’ record in an afternoon press call, saying Pence would take Harris to task on a record “riddled with hypocrisy.”
To drive home the point the Trump campaign invited long-dead rapper Tupac Shakur to attend. Harris allegedly lied in a radio interview about smoking pot in college while listening to his music, which had not yet been released.
During the Republican National Convention in August, the Trump campaign courted black voters with a focus on the Trump-signed First Step Act of 2018, which reduced some criminal sentences, expanded “good time” deductions and increased opportunities for compassionate release from prison.
Trump said last month he will create a new clemency commission if he’s re-elected.
Pence also chided Harris at the debate for joining fellow Senate Democrats in June to block a Republican police reform bill that would have made lynching a federal crime, created a commission to study conditions of black men, funded black police recruitment and incentivized police departments to restrict chokeholds, purchase and use body cameras and keep data on use-of-force and no-knock raids.
“When Senator Tim Scott tried to pass a police reform bill, you got up and walked out of the room, then you filibustered the bill,” Pence told Harris.
Democrats pushed for stronger federal rules and legal changes that would make it easier to sue or charge police officers. The congressional impasse resulted in no federal legislation reforming policing, despite broad consensus on many details.
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