Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro elaborated on his sweeping police reform plan during a town hall event Thursday, questioning why so many young men of color have been injured or killed by law enforcement in recent years and declaring that the “system itself is broken.”
Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary with the Obama administration, spoke at length about his policy positions during an event with Fox News in Tempe, Arizona. When asked about his stance on policing, Castro pointed to the vast disparity in treatment by law enforcement based on race, noting that mass shooters like the white supremacist Dylann Roof can be arrested without violence, while young people of color can be subject to lethal action.
″[Roof] was apprehended without incident, as I believe he should be apprehended without incident, taken into custody, taken to trial and punished,” Castro said. “But then what about Eric Garner, and what about Stephon Clark, and what about Jason Pero, and what about Sandra Bland, and what about Tamir Rice, and what about Laquan McDonald, and what about Pamela Turner and what about Antonio Arce, here in Tempe, Arizona.”
The list of names drew widespread applause from the audience as Castro went on to note that many police officers were doing a “good job in our country,” pointing to those who worked under him when he served as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. But he said he was troubled by the ongoing spate of videos of police brutality that have spread like wildfire in recent years.
“We’re in an age of technology where you see the video now. How many of these videos do you have to watch before we understand ... this is not a problem of a few bad apples?” Castro asked. “The system itself is broken, and we need to fix it.”
Castro released his “People First” policing plan earlier this month in which he laid out a proposal to end over-aggressive policing, better hold officers accountable for their actions and bridge the divide with communities of color.
“Public servants, whether they are a mayor or a police officer, public servants work for the public,” Castro told the audience. “The public doesn’t work for them. They serve the public. We need to make sure that, just like with every other profession, that we continue to improve that profession.”
Several major Democrats have chosen to appear on Fox News for the network’s town hall events going into the 2020 presidential election, some to great fanfare. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) have all appeared on the conservative network. Others in the crowded field have refused.