2020 Hopeful Kamala Harris Caught Boasting About Threatening Parents with Jail
Harris's controversial approach threatened parents with criminal charges in 2010 video
Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, who recently launched her 2020 presidential bid promising to 'lead with integrity' and 'speak the truth,' has been caught boasting about prosecuting parents including a homeless mom whose kids missed classes.
In the video, Harris who at the time was attorney general for California, smugly described how being 'tough on truancy' got results when she was the district attorney for San Francisco.
Harris's controversial approach threatened parents with criminal charges and jail if their children were absent from school.
Harris laughed as she said she wanted to frighten parents by sending 'gang and murder' prosecutors to meet them.
Harris, who announced her run for President earlier this month, said in the video she advise the prosecutors to “really look mean."
She then shared a story of a homeless single mother who held two jobs and had three children to reinforce her strategy.
The Democrat added that after the mother was charged and threatened with jail, the children's attendance increased.
“By shining this infrared spotlight of public safety on the fact that her children aren’t in school,” Harris said.
“We were able to figure that out, get her access to services that exist, and through that process, the attendance of her children improved. We dismissed the charges against her, and overall we’ve improved attendance for this population in San Francisco by 20 percent over the last two years.”
Harris even vowed to get tough on truancy at an event hosted by the Commonwealth Club in 2010.
But truancy crackdown critics claim that such efforts unjustly target poor parents and children without actually helping them.
Twitter user Walker Bragman posted the video which has highlighted the California Democrat’s days as a prosecutor.
“Kamala Harris continued to describe how she'd brought charges against a single homeless mother of 3 who was working two jobs because her children were truant...and this was a success story.”
Another Twitter user, Jermane Lee Willis, posted: “Kamala Harris loves to put desperate people in jail. Here, she giddily recalls the time a father said his wife had to sit down the kids and tell them to obey the police and go to school or everyone's going to jail. Is this a healthy learning environment?”
Kamala Harris at an event hosted by the Commonwealth Club in 2010, explaining her decision as San Francisco DA to get tough on truancy.— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) January 28, 2019
Critics of truancy crackdowns say such efforts unfairly target poor parents and children without actually helping students. pic.twitter.com/GKkDpayxuv
Why is this a problem for you? 20 whole parents? 100 days of truancy? Someone needs to make sure these kids get an education, it’s obvious for some reason the parents wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. It was time for intervention.— Janet Palmer (@palmtre2) January 30, 2019
Not surprisingly, Twitter suspended that account on Wednesday.
Demi, whose Twitter handle is @demisaysstuff said: “I feel like terrorism isn’t the best method to reduce truancy."
The Democratic nominee has now found herself in defense mode in the light of the video.
Morgan Jerkins, the author of “This Will Be My Undoing,” wrote in Glamour earlier this month:
“While [Kamala Harris] has said she’s committed to such progressive goals as weed legalization and restorative justice, she’s only just begun to reckon with and apologize for the part she (as a prosecutor) played in strengthening systemic disparities among communities of color.”
“She’s earned the nickname Top Cop for a reason,” Jerkins said.
“In the era of the Black Lives Matter movement and countless articles and books that document police surveillance and brutality toward black and brown people, for some black women, the question is: What kind of voice would Harris be for us in the White House? And what would it take for us to back Harris’ historic bid?”
Harris and her campaign are now scrambling to defend her criminal justice background.
A Harris spokesman said to the Huffington Post: “She believed a critical way to keep kids out of jail when they’re older is to keep them in school when they’re young.”
According to Fox: The spokesman, who was not named, said that jail was one part of the program, which stressed having the schools work with the parents to resolve the issues underlying the truancy.
On Monday, at a CNN town hall, Harris said: “I’ve been consistent my whole career.”
Earlier this week, a video clip of Kamala Harris speaking in 2010 at an event hosted by the Commonwealth Club started making the rounds.
Why is this a problem for you? 20 whole parents? 100 days of truancy?
Someone needs to make sure these kids get an education; it’s obvious for some reason the parents wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. It was time for an intervention.
“My career has been based on an understanding that, one, as a prosecutor, my duty was to seek and make sure that the most vulnerable and voiceless among us are protected. ... I have also worked my whole career to reform the criminal justice system, understanding, to your point, that it is deeply flawed.”
At her announcement about entering the presidential race, Harris found herself defending her actions as a prosecutor, including supporting the California Department of Corrections in denying gender reassignment surgery to inmates.
Harris argued decisions, in that case, were made by other people in her office who “do the work on a daily basis.”
“And do I wish that sometimes they would have personally consulted me before they wrote the things that they wrote?” Harris said.
“Yes, I do.”
But, she added, “the buck stops with me. And I take full responsibility for what my office did.”