I first met Senator Kamala Harris in February 2011 as she gave the keynote address for NARAL Pro-Choice’s 38th anniversary luncheon in Washington, D.C. She highly impressed me. That was before she became a U.S. Senator and now candidate for Democratic nominee for president. I followed her campaign for president as well as that of the other 20 plus candidates. I watched as she opened her campaign headquarters in my hometown -Baltimore. Her presidential campaign appeared to be at times—lackluster and devoid of what I saw of her in 2011. At last night’s debate, Senator Harris shined like a rare diamond. As a black woman and former prosecutor, I could not have been prouder of Kamala Harris than if she were my own sister. The debate exchange between Senator Harris and Vice President Joe Biden was emotional and a rare teaching lesson for America. While discussing the issue of school busing and Biden’s past support against busing Black students to integrate schools, she made the point … [Read more...] about Kamala Harris Schools Joe Biden and America
On Sunday, June 23, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a wake-up call on criminal justice issues. Instead of prepping for the Democratic presidential debate to be held on June 27, Buttigieg held a South Bend, Indiana town hall over the fatal police shooting of a 54 -year old black man by a white police officer. The police officer’s body camera did not record the shooting. Many black residents expressed anger at Buttigieg over the city’s ongoing criminal justice issues involving blacks and the police. Eric Logan was just the latest black man shot and killed by a police officer. He follows a long list of many others throughout the country. This is not an isolated issue solely for Mayor Buttigieg but for all Democratic presidential candidates in 2020. Criminal justice reform, including police shootings and killings of blacks, is an issue that must be addressed by Democratic presidential contenders. As an African American woman and former prosecutor, it’s painful to listen to my friends … [Read more...] about 2020 Presidential Candidates Must Address Criminal Justice
Today is June 19. It marks the date in 1865 that slavery was abolished in Texas and the broader U.S. emancipation of African Americans. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties holds a hearing today to discuss the legacy of slavery and the path to restorative justice. The issue of reparations for Blacks who are descendants of slaves is being raised through House Bill 40. HR 40 would establish a commission to study the effects of slavery, the role of the U.S. government in supporting slavery and beyond and the lasting effects of slavery on Blacks in America. Many of the Democratic party presidential candidates support the idea of reparations. Julian Castro was the first one to voice support. Others like Bernie Sanders prefers to shy away from the idea of reparations for slave descendants. It is a difficult topic and one that cannot be boiled down in one legislative hearing or article. Many Americans view reparations as a fancy word for … [Read more...] about Juneteenth and a Time for Reparations
A police officer, armed with a gun, froze in the line of duty during the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. The massacre killed 17 students and faculty. In the face of gunfire coming from inside the school, a school deputy, Scot Peterson, remained outside the school with a gun. He never went inside the school to protect and perhaps save lives. He was the only person initially on the school with a gun. Now Peterson is charged with 3 counts of culpable negligence, one count of perjury and 7 counts of neglect of a child. If convicted of all counts, he could land in prison for 96 years. According to video, it appears that Peterson took the coward’s way out. The real question is whether he can be legally found guilty of culpable negligence—a charge routinely reserved for parents, caregivers, day care providers and others similarly situated. Police are usually charged for acts that they did. While I am usually an outspoken critic of … [Read more...] about Is Parkland Officer’s Cowardice a Criminal Act?
Today, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller spoke for the first time in two years on implications of the Special Prosecutor’s report. The main points were whether Russia engaged in interference with our 2016 election. He concluded that Russia did engage in interference in our 2016 presidential election. He also discussed whether the president engaged in obstruction. He did not clear Trump of any wrongdoing. If there had been a way to clear the president, Mueller states he would have done so. The evidence was not sufficient to clear the president of any wrongdoing. At the same time, there was no way to indict a sitting president since Department of Justice memorandum forbids indicting a sitting president. Mueller felt bound by the Justice Department guidelines. Mueller left it in the hands of Congress to do what is necessary under the U. S. Constitution—to bring impeachment proceedings. Some may ask why did the Special Prosecutor investigate the president if he couldn’t be indicted. … [Read more...] about Mueller Time is Over but Not Quite Yet
Housing Secretary Ben Carson came to testify before Congress about the workings or non-workings of Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"). When Carson was first appointed, I, like many others, wondered what expertise he had to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Donald Trump once stated he hired the best folks for the job. We learned through the hilarity that ensued from Carson's testimony of his ignorance and lack of knowledge about Hud inner workings and basic understanding of simple terms. It started when Rep. Katie Porter (D. CA) inquired if Carson understood the housing term "REO" during his testimony before the Financial Services Committee. REO stands for real-estate owned and refers to foreclosed properties. Carson thought she was referring to "Oreo" cookies. He had no idea of what the housing acronym stood for. Secretary Carson expects to cut over 16% from HUD's budget which lawmakers on the committee wanted to address. Instead Carson … [Read more...] about Ben Carson as HUD Secretary is the Real Joke