Kamala Harris on Crime

Democratic candidate for President (withdrawn); California Senator


In CA, created many first-time criminal justice reforms

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 training for law enforcement on implicit bias because yes, Joe Biden and I recognize that implicit bias does exist. 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.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

Police accountability plus reimagining safe communities

Q: The president said Biden didn't talk about law enforcement. Your response?

BIDEN: I did talk about what we have to do. This is the guy who has a budget calling for cutting a half a billion dollars in local law enforcement. I'm proposing that there be basic laws relating to police conduct, we have to help the police departments with psychologists, sociologists, people who can get involved in making sure they can negotiate things that don't require a policeman with a gun to deal with.

Q: You joined the protest after George Floyd, while you still support law enforcement. Can you do both?

HARRIS: Absolutely. There needs to be accountability and consequence for anyone who breaks the law, including police officers, but also we need to reimagine how we are creating safe communities and understand that the way to create safe communities is to invest in those communities, invest in high rates of homeownership, invest in public education in schools, invest in access to capital.

Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention David Muir Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

Tough prosecutor; but for reform as candidate

She is a former prosecutor, and her handling of cases involving police shootings of civilians while she was California's attorney general˙drew criticism from activists on the left, who argued that she was not aggressive enough in stepping in to overhaul rogue police departments and that she sided too frequently with police unions. Ms. Harris has said she was trying to effect change from "inside" government. "When we want to reform systems, it shouldn't and it can't only be from the outside on bended knee or trying to break down the door." As a Democratic presidential candidate, Ms. Harris released plans outlining her vision for criminal justice reform and how to "stand up for Black America." As part of the plans, Ms. Harris called for ending mass incarceration, cash bail and the death penalty; creating a national police systems review board; making attending historically Black colleges and universities debt-free for students; and many other measures.
Source: New York Times on 2020 Veepstakes , Jul 21, 2020

When people break rules, they pay penalty; so should Trump

We have a criminal living in the White House. Ambassador Sondland told us that "everyone was in the loop." That means it is a criminal enterprise engaged in by the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the chief of staff.

This not only points to the corrupt nature of this administration, but it also means that there are clearly two different set of rules for two different groups of people in America: the powerful people who with their arrogance think they can get away with this and then everybody else.

Because here's the thing. For those working people who are working two or three jobs, if they don't pay that credit card by the end of the month, they get a penalty. For the people who don't pay their rent, they get evicted. For the people who shoplift, they go to jail. We need the same set of rules for everybody. And part of the reason I'm running for president is to say that we have to bring justice back to America for all people, and not just for some.

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

I fought and ended the "gay panic" defense

When I was district attorney of San Francisco, what was happening is that if the killer was caught and arrested and charged, in the courtroom, they would offer a defense called the gay or trans panic defense. They'd say, oh, I freaked out, therefore I don't have the state of mind for which you could convict me of murder. So I convened prosecutors from around the country to come to San Francisco, and we created a whole training on how to defeat the gay trans panic defense.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe

Q: Your plan for people of color in the criminal justice reform does contradict some of your prior positions. You used to oppose outside investigations of police shootings; now you don't.

HARRIS: I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe. And second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias. And I could tell you extensively about the experiences I and my family members have personally had. I created one of the first in the nation requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full-time. Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not. But my plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration, about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for-profit prisons on day one.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

FactCheck: Denied DNA evidence in 1980s; backtracked in 2018

The attack: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Kamala Harris "blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed an innocent man from Death Row until the courts forced her to do so."

The context: Gabbard is referring to the case of Kevin Cooper, a Death Row inmate convicted of quadruple murder in 1983. Harris, during her tenure as attorney general, declined to use advanced DNA testing in the widely publicized case.

Last year, after the New York Times published an investigative piece on Cooper's case, then-Sen. Harris backtracked, saying, "I feel awful about this," and that she hoped the governor would order the testing. In February, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new tests. The results are pending.

Source: S.F.Chronicle FactCheck: July 2019 Democratic Primary debate , Jul 31, 2019

I chose the unpopular thing to NOT seek the death penalty

[Harris said during the debate]: "My entire career I have been personally opposed to the death penalty and that has never changed. And I dare anybody who is in a position to make that decision, to face the people I have faced to say I will not seek the death penalty. That is my background; that is my work. When I was in the position of having to decide whether or not to seek a death penalty on cases I prosecuted, I made a very difficult decision that was not popular to not seek the death penalty."

[Is that true? FactCheck by Vox.com:]

In 2004, as district attorney of San Francisco, she refused to seek the death penalty against a man convicted of shooting police officer Isaac Espinoza. She faced opposition from fellow Democrats; Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the death penalty at the officer's funeral. But Harris didn't budge--an act of principle that cost her key political allies (as she received almost no support from police groups during her first run for attorney general in 2010).

Source: Vox.com FactCheck on July 2019 Democratic Primary debate , Jul 31, 2019

Moratorium on death penalty; but defended it as AG

Harris has called for a national moratorium on the death penalty. She defended the death penalty as attorney general, despite being personally against it.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 7, 2019

Have a conversation on whether prisoners should vote

Q: What about disallowing convicts to vote, as is now the law in several red states?

A: I agree that the right to vote is one of the very important components of citizenship and it is something that people should not be stripped of needlessly, which is why I have been long an advocate of making sure that the formerly incarcerated are not denied a right to vote, in some states permanently deprived of the right to vote. These are policies that go back to Jim Crow. These are policies that go back to the heart of policies that have been about disenfranchisement, and we need to take it seriously.

Q: But those now in prison?

A: I think we should have that conversation.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Private prisons are about profit, not dealing with crime

When this country incarcerates more people than any other country, America must admit it has a problem of mass incarceration. But what has this administration done, they've increased the use of private prisons, which as we all know, profit, not, let's be clear about this profit over the incarceration of other human beings.
Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention , Apr 5, 2019

Federal and state moratorium on death penalty

Kamala Harris said that there should be a federal moratorium on executions. The senator from California discussed the matter on National Public Radio, a day after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California granted reprieves to 737 death row inmates and signed an executive order placing a moratorium on executions.

Harris was asked if there should be "a federal equivalent" to Newsom's order. She said, "Yes, I think that there should be."

Asked if no one would be executed if Harris was president, she responded, "Correct, correct."

As California's attorney general, Harris defended the state's use of the death penalty. But in a statement this week, she said it is "immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars." She noted that black and Latino defendants were more likely to be executed than white defendants, as were poor defendants with poor legal representation versus wealthier defendants with good legal representation.

Source: Associated Press on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 14, 2019

No on capital punishment, but justice for murderers

If she were president, no one would be executed in the U.S. for any crime--not even treason. She adds, though, "I absolutely and strongly believe there should be serious and swift consequence when one human being kills another human being. ... I am unequivocal in that belief. So let's be very clear about that. There should be justice."
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , Mar 14, 2019

Ex-felons re-enter society, instead of broken justice system

We need our leaders to speak truth about climate change and about our broken criminal justice system.

We need an America where no mother or father has to teach their son that people may stop him or kill him because of the color of his skin.

The strength of our union is in our diversity and our unity. We see the State of our Union in the formerly incarcerated individual who re-enters society looking to contribute and in the DREAMer who pursues her future in the face of uncertainty.

Source: Democratic prebuttal to the 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

Punish violent criminals, but understand they also need help

To be a progressive prosecutor is to understand that when a person takes another's life, or a child is molested, or a woman raped, the perpetrators deserve severe consequences. The job of a progressive prosecutor is to look out for the overlooked, to speak up for those whose voices aren't being heard, to see and address the causes of crime, not just their consequences. It is to recognize that not everyone needs punishment, that what many need, quite plainly, is help.
Source: The Atlantic commentary on memoir "The Truths We Hold" , Jan 11, 2019

Back on Track: expungement for first-time minor offenders

[As D.A., we developed a program we called] Back on Track. At the heart of the program was my belief in the power of redemption.

At the time, criminal justice policy was still trending toward things like harsher sentences or militarizing the police. More than a decade later, that attitude has, thankfully, evolved. Reentry programs like Back on Track are now part of the mainstream conversation. But in those days, I faced intensive backlash.

Though compassionate in its approach, Back on Track was intense by design. This was not a social welfare program. All of the first participants were nonviolent first-time offenders. Participants had to first plead guilty and accept the responsibility for the actions that had brought them there. We promised that if participants completed the program, we would have their charges expunged, which gave them more the reason to put in the effort. We hadn't designed a program that was about incremental improvement around the edges. It was about transformation.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p.55-7 , Jan 8, 2019

Cash bail system favors the wealthy

One of the key issues I focused on during my first year in the Senate was the country's bail system--the process by which you can be released from jail while you await trial.

In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Bill of Rights explicitly prohibits excessive bail. That's what justice is supposed to look like.

What it should not look like is the system we have in America today. The median bail in the United States is $10,000. But in American households with an income of $45,000, the median savings account balance is $2,530. The disparity is so high that roughly 9 out of 10 people who are detained can't afford to pay to get out.

By its very design, the cash bail system favors the wealthy and penalizes the poor. If you can pay cash up front, you can leave, and when your trial is over, you'll get all your money back. If you can't afford it, you either languish in jail or have to pay a bail bondsman, which costs a steep fee you will never get back.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p. 63-4 , Jan 8, 2019

2010: Ran for A.G. as anti-death-penalty D.A.

[When running for A.G. in 2000], plenty of fellow Democrats had considered me a long shot. One longtime political strategist announced that there was no way I could win, because I was "a woman running for attorney general, a woman who is a minority, a woman who is a minority, who is anti-death penalty who is DA of wacky San Francisco." Old stereotypes die hard. I was convinced that my perspective and experience made me the strongest candidate in the race, but I didn't know if the voters would agree.
Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p. 83 , Jan 8, 2019

Focus on helping non-violent young offenders

Harris supported reforming California's three-strikes law, refrained from seeking life sentences for criminals who committed nonviolent "third strikes," and in 2004 instituted the Back on Track program, which put first-time offenders between ages eighteen and twenty-four into eighteen-month-long city college apprentice programs, which contributed to the city's recidivism rates dropping from 54 percent to 10 percent in six years.

"Getting Smart on Crime does not mean reducing sentences or punishments for crimes," she explains in her book. As her website outlines, "Kamala believes that we must maintain a relentless focus on reducing violence and aggressively prosecuting violent criminals." Fittingly, when she became San Francisco DA, the felony conviction rate rose from 52 percent to 67 percent in three years.

Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2018 California Senate race , Aug 10, 2017

Defied pressure for death penalty for cop killer

The first test of Harris's principles came in 2004, after she was elected as San Francisco's district attorney. Harris defied a united chorus of voices--from the city's police chief and police rank and file, to Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein--calling for the death penalty for a twenty-one-year-old who killed an undercover police officer. During the officer's funeral, 2000 officers gave Feinstein a standing ovation after she criticized Harris, who was also at the funeral.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2018 California Senate race , Aug 10, 2017

Imprison violent criminals, not the non-violent

For several decades, tough laws and long sentences have created the illusion that public safety is best served when we treat all offenders the same way: arrest, convict, incarcerate, and hope they somehow learn their lesson. But the majority of prisoners are serving time for nonviolent offenses--what I call the base of the "crime pyramid." At the top of the pyramid are the most serious and violent crimes, which are committed far less often but should demand most of our attention in law enforcement. At the base of the pyramid are the vast majority of crimes committed, which are nonviolent & nonserious.

Crime is not a monolith. Instead of a one-size-fits-all justice system, [we must] focus on the top of the pyramid and avoid treating all offenders the same. This approach has three pillars: maintain a relentless focus on reducing violence and prosecuting violent criminals, identify key points in the lives of young offenders to stop the escalation of criminal behavior, and support victims of crime.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 37-8 , Apr 28, 2015

Make fighting transnational gangs a top priority

Attorney General Kamala Harris has made fighting transnational gangs a top priority to securing safe communities across California. Transnational gangs are a serious public safety threat in California. Their crimes--from drug dealing to gun violence to premeditated murder--cross international borders into California and reverberate throughout the state. As the state's chief law enforcement officer, public safety is Attorney General Harris' most important priority. As a result, she has dedicated law enforcement resources to fight transnational gangs operating throughout the state and to take the guns, drugs, and violence they bring to our communities.

Within her first 100 days in office, the Attorney General brought law enforcement leaders from across the state to California's border with Mexico to see firsthand the everyday problems that transnational gangs cause--the smuggling of guns, drugs and human beings across the border.

Source: 2014 Attorney General campaign website KamalaHarris.org , Nov 1, 2014

Learn from public health model and focus on prevention

On prevention: "There seem to be two positions for DAs and AGs to take: tough on crime and soft on crime. I believe there's a third way forward: smart on crime," Harris told the audience about her efforts to address the state's revolving-door prison system--a system so dysfunctional that the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the prison population be drastically reduced by 2013. "We need to learn from the public health model and focus on prevention," Harris said.
Source: Stanford Law School press release on 2019 Democratic Primary , Oct 31, 2011

Treat crime economically: most safety for the investment

After nearly twenty years prosecuting people who rob others of their dignity and rightful claim to justice, I feel that as a society we must demand a much higher return on the enormous investment we make in our criminal justice system.

I believe that in the criminal justice system notions such as supply and demand, input and output, and looking for patterns are not abstract concepts. They tell us a lot about the effectiveness of what we're doing. When you measure, you can see quite clearly the results of making particular adjustments to complex systems. And we can apply the logic and principles of economics to fight against crime. It is crucial to ask how we can achieve the most safety for the lowest cost. We have spent billions of dollars on ineffective solutions that have not delivered the safety we must demand.

And today, more urgently than ever, I think all Americans want to spend our limited resources on those things that will deliver the most safety for the investment.

Source: Smart on Crime, by Kamala Harris, "Preface" , Oct 7, 2009

Smart on Crime: focus on violence, youth, & prevention

America's prison population now tops two million, and we spend roughly $200 billion annually on responding to crime, but our system is plagued with repeat offenders. The sad fact is that 2/3 of those released from prison or jail re-offended within 2 or 3 years. If we have the courage to reject the myths and the outmoded approaches of the status quo, the result will be a more effective, efficient criminal justice system that truly gets tough on crime by being Smart on Crime. Smart on Crime has three pillars:
  1. maintain a relentless and intense focus on violence and the prosecution of violent criminals;
  2. identify key points in the lives of young offenders and stop them from continuing and escalating their criminal behavior;
  3. and support victims of crime and, in the process, foster crime prevention.
The opportunity before us encourages empowerment of communities: rather than people feeling like helpless victims of crime, they can become educated consumers of safety.
Source: Smart on Crime, by Kamala Harris, "Introduction" , Oct 7, 2009

Crime pyramid: nonviolent offender isn't hardened criminal

When I look at the criminal justice system today, the result is best represented by a pyramid. At the very top are the very worst crimes. Only a quarter of all offenders admitted to prison are violent offenders. The largest mass of the crime pyramid is the truly staggering number of nonviolent offenders.

The problem is that we have been using only the tools best suited to combatting the offenders at the top of the pyramid, and we have been using them on the entire crime pyramid. Most nonviolent offenders are learning the wrong lesson, and in many cases, they are becoming better and more hardened criminals during their prison stays.

It's time to rock the crime pyramid.

These lower-in-the-pyramid offenders often have no job skills, and far more often than not are addicted to drugs. We quite appropriately arrest them when they offend and re-offend, but then we warehouse them in jails, which pushes them deeper into the grip of gangs and the culture of hardened criminals.

Source: Smart on Crime, by Kamala Harris, "Introduction" , Oct 7, 2009

Personally opposed to death penalty; as DA, never pursued it

While Harris has argued that she has always been personally opposed to the death penalty, some media sources questioned whether she altered her position in the run-up to election in 2010. Though she stated in her 2004 inaugural address as San Francisco's District Attorney that she would never charge the death penalty, when asked during her campaign for attorney general if there would ever be a time when she would seek the death penalty, she answered, "We take each case on a case by case basis, and I'll make decisions on each case as they arise."

The Chris Kelly campaign, in an effort to emphasize the San Francisco DA's refusal to enforce the law, released a video that shows Harris telling an astonished reporter for the local KTVU news station that "she had never seen a case that merited pursuing the death penalty during her time as District Attorney."

Source: Ballotpedia.org coverage of 2016 California Senate race , Jan 30, 2004

2004: no death penalty for cop killer; 2019: apply to all

Harris says, "The symbol of our justice system is a woman with a blindfold. It is supposed to treat all equally, but the application of the death penalty--a final & irreversible punishment--has been proven to be unequally applied."

As Harris launched her presidential bid, she said she was running as a "progressive prosecutor." But she has drawn scrutiny from some liberals for "tough on crime" positions she held as a California prosecutor, with her stance on the death penalty among those issues.

As a district attorney in 2004, she drew national headlines with her decision not to seek the death penalty for the killer of a San Francisco police officer. That decision, announced days after the officer's death, enraged local law enforcement officials

However, a decade later, she appealed a judge's decision declaring California's death penalty law unconstitutional. While Harris has personally opposed the death penalty, she has said that she defended the law as a matter of professional obligation.

Source: Associated Press on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 14, 2019

Kamala Harris on Black Lives Matter

Ban chokeholds by police; registry of police crimes

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 choke holds and carotid holes. George Floyd would be alive today if we did that. We will require a national registry for police officers who break the law.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

Every black man is subject of profiling & discrimination

John HICKENLOOPER [regarding a shooting by a South Bend white police officer of a black man]: We had a shooting when I first became mayor, 10 years before Ferguson [and we responded with better police accountability]--5 years after Ferguson, why doesn't every have this level of police accountability?

Marianne WILLIAMSON: All of these issues are extremely important, but they are specifics; they are symptoms. And the underlying cause has to do with deep, deep, deep realms of racial injustice, both in our criminal justice system and in our economic system.

Kamala HARRIS: As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race. Race is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend or a coworker, who has not been the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn't play with us because we were black.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Not tough nor soft crime: must be smart on crime

She tells NPR that it's a "false choice" to suggest that someone is either tough on crime or soft on crime. "If you want to deal with an epidemic--crime or health--the smartest and most effective and cheapest way to deal with it is prevention first," she says. "If you're dealing with it in the emergency room or the prison system, it is too late and it is too expensive. We have to be smart on crime."
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Mar 14, 2019

Progressive prosecutor: fix broken criminal justice system

Before her 2016 victory in the Senate race, Harris made her career in law enforcement. Harris is likely to face questions about her law enforcement record, particularly after the Black Lives Matter movement and activists across the country pushed for a criminal justice overhaul. Harris's prosecutorial record has recently come under new scrutiny after a blistering opinion piece in The New York Times criticized her repeated claim that she was a "progressive prosecutor," focused on changing a broken criminal justice system from within.

Harris addressed her law enforcement background in her book. She argued it was a "false choice" to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement. She wrote, "When activists came marching & banging on the doors, I wanted to be on the other side to let them in."

Harris supported legislation that passed the Senate last year that overhauled the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sentencing rules.

Source: Juana Summers in Time Magazine on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Jan 21, 2019

I'm part of changing prosecutors' history of injustice

I wanted to work in the district attorney's office--I had found my calling--America has a deep and dark history of people using the power of the prosecutor as an instrument of injustice. I knew this history well--of innocent men framed, of charges brought against people of color without sufficient evidence, of prosecutors hiding information that would exonerate defendants. I grew up with these stories--so I understood my community's wariness. But history told another story too.

I knew the history of brave prosecutors who went after the Klu Klux Klan in the South. I also knew the legacy of Robert Kennedy, who, as U.S. attorney general, sent Department of Justice officials to protect the Freedom Riders in 1961.

I knew quite well that equal justice was an aspiration. I knew that the force of the law was applied unevenly, sometimes by design. But I also knew that what was wrong with the system didn't need to be an immutable fact. And I wanted to be a part of changing that.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p.24-5 , Jan 8, 2019

Black men pay 35% higher bail than white men

The criminal justice system punishes people for their poverty. Between 2000 and 2014, 95 percent of the growth in jail population came from people awaiting trial. This is a group of largely nonviolent defendants who haven't been proven guilty.

Whether or not someone can get bailed out of jail shouldn't be based on how much money he has in the bank. Or the color of his skin: black men pay 35 percent higher bail than white men for the same charge. Latino men pay nearly 20 percent more. This isn't the stuff of coincidences. It is systematic. And we have to change it.

In 2017, I introduced a bill in the Senate to encourage states to replace their bail systems, moving away from arbitrarily assigning cash bail and systems where a person's actual risk of danger or flight is evaluated. If someone poses a threat to the public, we should detain them. If someone is likely to flee, we should detain them. But if not, we shouldn't be in the business of charging money for liberty.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p. 65 , Jan 8, 2019

I'm for both the police and for police accountability

We have to root out police brutality wherever we find it. What does it say about our standards of justice when police officers are so rarely held accountable for these incidents?

If there aren't serious consequences for police brutality in our justice system, what kind of a message does it send to the community? Public safety depends on public trust.

But when black and brown people are more likely to be stopped, arrested, and convicted than their white counterparts; when police departments are outfitted like military regiments; when egregious use of deadly force is not met with consequence, is it any wonder that the very credibility of these public institutions is on the line?

I say this as someone who has spent most of my career working with law enforcement. I say this as someone who has a great deal of respect for police officers. It is a false choice to suggest that you must either be for the police or for police accountability. I am for both. Most people I know are for both.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p. 71-2 , Jan 8, 2019

Improve criminal justice reporting; increase accountability

[Attorney General Kamala Harris' press release on OpenJustice Data Act]: The OpenJustice Data Act, said Harris, "will bring criminal justice data reporting into the 21st Century."

Assembly Bill 2524 will convert Crime in California and other annual reports published by the California Department of Justice into digital data sets that will be published on the Attorney General's OpenJustice Web portal. These reports provide statistical summaries including numbers of arrests, complaints against peace officers, hate crime offenses, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. The OpenJustice Web portal will transform the way this information is presented to the public with interactive, accessible visualization tools, while making raw data available for public interest researchers.

Legislative outcome: Aug/24/16 passed Senate 39-0-0; Aug/30/16 passed Assembly 80-0-0; Sep/21/16 signed by Governor Jerry Brown

Source: California legislative voting records: AB-2524 , Mar 21, 2016

Don't require cops to wear body cameras

Joining fellow law enforcement officials, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she doesn't believe there should be statewide standards regulating the use of body-worn cameras by police officers: "I as a general matter believe that we should invest in the ability of law enforcement leaders in specific regions and with their departments to use discretion to figure out what technology they are going to adopt based on needs that they have and resources that they have. I don't think we can have a one-size-fits-all approach to this," she said.

Harris, whose own department is the first statewide agency to adopt a body camera program, waded into an issue that has sparked intense debate at the Capitol. One measure, Assembly Bill 66, has undergone several revisions to permit police officers in most jurisdictions to review footage captured on the cameras before giving a report of an incident involving force.

Source: Sacramento Bee coverage of 2016 California Senate race , May 27, 2015

Acknowledge that certain communities distrust police

Use of the body-worn camera equipment was thrust into the national dialogue following a string of officer-involved incidents, many involving young African Americans. Harris has established a new training protocol for law enforcement that focuses on "implicit bias" and related issues. Harris said there needs to be broader acknowledgment that certain communities distrust law enforcement.

"We have a history in this country that we can be proud of and then there's a part of the history that we are not proud of," Harris said, adding, "But we also have to acknowledge that the relationship of trust is a reciprocal relationship, and everyone has a responsibility to be a part of leading that effort."

Source: Sacramento Bee coverage of 2016 California Senate race , May 27, 2015

First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.

Harris voted YEA First Step Act

Congressional Summary:

Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.

Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.

Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018

Other candidates on Crime: Kamala Harris on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Kamala Harris:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Mar 20, 2021