Tuesday night’s first Vice Presidential Debate heard the both Tim Kaine and Mike Pence speak on several troubling issues the country is facing as voters prepare to elect the next Commander-In-Chief next month.
One of those issues was police brutality against African-Americans.
The topic of police reform as it relates to eliminating the practice of unjust killings of Black people during confrontations with law enforcement has been one that many African-American voters feel the 2016 presidential candidates have often failed to directly address while on the campaign trail.
However, their potential VP counter parts tackled the issue head on, with each appearing to show their true colors while speaking on the subject — for better and worse.
Responding to a question about policing in America, Hillary Clinton running mate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine spoke at length about the senseless police murder of unarmed school cafeteria worker Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in July and used the killing as a prime example of implicit bias in the policing system.
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He also emphasized how the racial profiling-based Stop & Frisk policing tactic “polarizes the relationship between the police and the community” in response to Donald Trump’s recent promise to implement Stop & Frisk nationwide should he be elected president.
Another key point in Kaine’s commentary on police reform was Hillary Clinton’s plan to address mental health issues in individuals targeted by law enforcement by providing for additional police training on how to better manage encounters with people who have a history of mental health issues.
Donald Trump running mate and former Indiana governor Mike Pence responded to the topic of policing in America by describing law enforcement as “the best of us,” before surprisingly echoing Kaine’s sentiments about community policing being a necessity to rebuild the broken relationship between police and residents.
In true team Trump fashion, Pence then went on a lengthy spiel in which he repeatedly implied that Black people use “tragedies” brought about by police killings of unarmed citizens to paint law enforcement in a negative light. Pence echoed Trump’s approval of nationwide Stop & Frisk legislation and attempted to justify police killings of Black people where African-American officers were involved, but fell short of laying out any concrete plans for alleviating the issue of police brutality or implementing effective police reform.
The second round of general election debates between Clinton and Trump is set for this Sunday, October 9.