"Well, sadly it's reality, and it has been heartbreaking, and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed by police officers. There needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
And, that requires a very clear agenda for retraining police officers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief.
One out of three African American men may well end up going to prison. That's the statistic. I want people hear to think what we would be doing if it was one out of three white men, and very often, the black men are arrested, convicted and incarcerated for offenses that do not lead to the same results for white men.
So, we have a very serious problem that we can no longer ignore."
Source: Team Fix, "The 4th Democratic Debate Transcript, Annotated: Who Said What and What It Meant," washingtonpost.com, Jan. 17, 2016
"Libertarians have led the charge with regard to drug legalization and I really believe that at the heart of the militarization of police has been the War on Drugs. A person of color has a much greater likelihood of going to jail for drugs than a white person. As governor of New Mexico, I supported the legalization of marijuana and was threatened with impeachment. Libertarians aren't coming up to speed on this, they've been at the tip of this from the beginning. I've maintained that the root of police abuse is the war on drugs. Drugs are a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. I watched a recruitment video for police in southern New Mexico that depicted young men in body armor with assault rifles and tanks knocking down doors. I just couldn't believe it."
Source: Anthony L. Fisher, "Exclusive: Gary Johnson Talks ISIS, Refugees, Black Lives Matter and Marijuana Legislation," reason.com, Nov. 19, 2015
"The stories of racist killings have become tragically commonplace – from Trayvon Martin to Eric Garner, Freddy Gray, the Emmanuel nine, Quintonio LeGrier and so many more. While the publicity may be unprecedented, racial violence in America is neither new, nor confined to police. It is the latest phase in a living legacy that runs from the criminal institution of slavery through the era of lynchings and Jim Crow, into the age of drug wars, the prison state, judicial racism, housing and school resegregation, the denial of voting rights, the school to prison pipeline, targeted school closures under the guise of 'education reform,' and police violence and militarization.
Racial violence is not only physical. It permeates most social institutions, where it has real effects with life-and-death consequences. Racism in the prison system is reflected in the one out of three young African American men in prison, on parole or on probation; and a rate of incarceration that’s six times as high as whites, having increased 4-fold since 1980."
Source: Jill Stein, "The Precarious State of Our Union - A Bipartisan Disaster We Can Fix," jill2016.com, Jan. 12, 2016
"Chuck Todd: ...But I want to ask you about Black Lives Matter. The latest shooting of a white police officer shooting an unarmed black man. Do you see this as a crisis in America?
Donald Trump: It's a massive crisis. It's a double crisis. What's happening and people. You know, I look at things. And I see it on television. And some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police because crime is rampant. And I'm a big person that believes in very big-- you know, we need police.
And we need protection. Look, I look at some of the cities. You look at Baltimore. You look at so many different places in this country. Chicago. Certain areas of Chicago. They need strong police protection. And those police can do the job. But their jobs are being taken away from them. At the same time, you've got these other problems. And there's no question about it. They are problems. There is turmoil in our country.
Chuck Todd: Do you understand why African Americans don't trust the police right now?
Donald Trump: Well, I can certainly see it when I see what's going on. But at the same time, we have to give power back to the police because we have to have law and order."
Source:Meet the Press, "Meet the Press Transcript – August 2, 2015," nbcnews.com, Aug. 2, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"We must pursue policies to transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color...
African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police...
We need a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and racism will not be accepted in a civilized country...
For decades, we have been engaged in a failed 'War on Drugs' with racially-biased mandatory minimums that punish people of color unfairly...
If current trends continue, one in four black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. Blacks are imprisoned at six times the rate of whites and a report by the Department of Justice found that blacks were three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop, compared to white motorists. Together, African-Americans and Latinos comprised 57 percent of all prisoners in 2014, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the US population. These outcomes are not reflective of increased crime by communities of color, but rather a disparity in enforcement and reporting mechanisms."
"The criminal law is the most potent 'lever through which government brings power to bear on the individual citizen.' Not only can a criminal conviction lead to imprisonment and the loss of other rights, including the right to vote, it forever brands those who are convicted as criminals — a stigma that can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Because of these serious consequences, the power to define crimes and to prosecute and jail people for committing them must be exercised with utmost care. Unfortunately, for all its virtues, the criminal justice system does not always exercise the care that it should...
The current draconian mandatory minimum sentences sometimes result in sentencing outcomes that neither fit the crime nor the perpetrator’s unique circumstances. This is especially true for nonviolent drug offenders.
Harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes have contributed to prison overpopulation and are both unfair and ineffective relative to the public expense and human costs of years-long incarceration."
Source: Ted Cruz, "Reduce Federal Crimes and Give Judges Flexibility," brennancenter.org, Apr. 27, 2015
“There are a lot of people in our inner cities who feel that the system... works against them... in some cases, they are… I'm one governor who has also led on this issue. Now we've moved to a different collaborative, where we're trying to get the community to understand that there is a police officer whose family waits every night for them to get home, and they love that police officer because that's their mom or dad. And the police have to understand the concerns inside of the community. It's about getting people together, people talking, understanding one another, and the right policing policies."
Source: CBS News Staff, “John Kasich: I've Led on Black Lives Matter Issues,” cbsnews.com, Aug. 18, 2015