Transcript for Harris and Pence confront racial injustice facing the country today
In March, breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician in Louisville was shot and killed after police officers executing a search warrant on a narcotics investigation broke into her apartment. The police said they identified Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t hear them do that. He used a gun registered to him to fire a shot which wounded an officer. The officers then fired more than 20 rounds into the they say they were acting in self-defense. None of them have been indicted in connection with her death. Senator Harris, in the case of breonna Taylor, was justice you have two minutes. I don’t believe so and I’ve talked with her mother, Tamika palmer and her family and her family deserves justice. She was a beautiful young woman. She had, as her life goal, to become a nurse and she wanted to become an emt to first learn what’s going on out on the street so she could become a nurse and save lives. And her life was taken. Unjustifiably and tragically and violently. And it just — it brings me to, you know, the eight minutes and 46 seconds that America witnessed during which an American man was tortured and killed under the knee of an armed uniformed police officer. And people around our country of every race, of every age, of every gender, perfect strangers to each other, marched, shoulder to shoulder, arm and arm, fighting for us to finally achieve that ideal of equal justice under law. And I was aport of those peaceful protests. And and I believe strongly that, first of all, we are never going to condone violence, but we always must fight for the values that we hold dear, including the fight to achieve our ideal. And that’s why Joe Biden and I have said, on this subject, look, and I’m — I’m a former career prosecutor, I know what I’m talking about. Bad cops are bad for good cops. We need reform of our policing in America and our criminal justice system, which is why Joe and I will immediately ban chokeholds. George Floyd would be alive today if we did that. We will require a national registry for police officers who break the law. We will, on the issue of criminal justice reform, get rid of private prisons and cash bail and we will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have convicted of marijuana. This is a time for leadership on a tragic, tragic issue of unarmed black people in America. Thank you, senator Harris. Vice president pence, let me pose the same question to you. In the case of breonna Taylor, was justice done? You have two minutes uninterrupted. Well, our heart breaks for the loss of innocent — any innocent American life and the family of breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system. A grand jury that refused the evidence. And it really is remarkable that as a former prosecutor, you would assume that an enpaneled grand jury looking at all the evidence got it wrong, but you’re entitled to your opinion, senator. I think — and with regard to George Floyd, there’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. Justice will be served. But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed. I mean, it really is astonishing. Flora Westbrook is here with us tonight in Salt Lake City. Just a few weeks ago, I stood at what ud to be her salon, was burned to the ground by rioters and looters. And flora is still trying to put her life back together. And I must tell you, this — this presumption that you hear consistently from Joe Biden and kamala Harris that America’s systemically racist and that as Joe Biden said, that he believes that law enforcement has an implicit bias against minorities, is a great insult to the men and women who serve in law enforcement and I want everyone to know who puts on the uniform of law enforcement every day that president trump and I stand with you. And it is remarkable that when senator Tim Scott tried to pass a police reform bill, brought together a group of Republicans and Democrats, senator Harris, you got up and walked out of the room. And then you filibustered Tim Scott’s bill on the senate floor that would have provided resources. We don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement, improving public safety and supporting our African-American neighbors and all of our minorities. Under president trump’s leadership, we will always stand with law enforcement and do what we want and that is improve the lives of African-Americans. Thank you, vice president pence. Your time is up. I’d like to respond. Senator Harris? I will not sit here and be lectured by the vice president on what it means to enforce the laws of our country. I am the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assault to homicide. I am the only one on this stage who has prosecuted the big banks for taking advantage of America’s homeowners. I am the only one on this stage that prosecuted for profit colleges for taking advantage of our veterans. And the reality of this is, that we are talking about an election in 27 days where last week, the president of the United States took a debate stage in front of 70 million Americans and refused to condemn white supremacists. Not true. And — Not true. And it wasn’t like he didn’t have a chance. He didn’t do it and then he doubled down. And then he said, when pressed, stand back, stand by. And this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump’s. He called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He instituted as his first act a Muslim ban. He, on the issue of charlottesville, were people were peacefully protesting the need for racial justice, where a young woman was killed and on the other side, there were neo-nazis carrying tiki torches, shouting racial epithets, anti-semitic slurs, and Donald Trump, when asked about it, said, there were fine people on both sides. This is who we have as the president of the United States and America, you deserve better. Joe Biden will be a president who brings our country together. Senator Harris. And recognizes the beauty in our diversity and the fact we have so much more in common than what separates us. Vice president, let me give you a minute to respond. Susan, thank you. Appreciate that very much. You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country, Susan. Is that you selectively edit just like senator Harris did, comments that president trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make. I mean, senator Harris omitted after the president made comments on either side on the debate over monuments, he condemned the kkk, neo-nazis and has done so repeatedly. Your concern that he doesn’t condemn neo-nazis, president trump has jewish grand children, his daughter and son-in-law are jewish. This is a president who respects and cherishes all of the American people. But you talk about having personally prosecuted, I’m glad you brought up your record, senator. Thank you. I really need to make this point. When you were D.A. In San Francisco, when you left off office, African-Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and hispanics. Thank you vice president. You increased the disproimportance Nate incarceration of blacks. You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California. You didn’t lift a finger to pass the first step act on capitol I mean, the reality is, your record speaks for itself. President trump and I have fought for criminal justice reform. Thank you, vice president pence. We fought for educational choice and opportunities for African-Americans, all of our — Thank you, sir. Thank you. You know, there is no more important issue than the final issue that we’re going to talk about tonight, and that is the issue of the election. But Susan, he attacked my record. I would like an opportunity to respond. 30 seconds, because we are running out of time. I appreciate that. 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. Our agenda includes what this administration has failed to do. It will be about not only instituting a ban on chokeholds, not only — Thank you, senator Harris. These are points that made earlier in the hour and I want to talk about the election itself before we have to go. But I want to talk about the connection between what Joe and I will do and my record. Which includes, I 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 own implicit bias, because Joe Biden and I recognize that implicit bias does exist, Mr. Vice president, contrary to what you may believe. We did the work of instituting reforms that were about investing in re-entry. This is the work that we have done and the work we will do going forward and again, I will not be lectured by the vice president on our record of what we have done in terms of law enforcement and keeping our communities safe and a commitment to reforming the criminal justice system of America. Thank you, senator Harris.
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