When he was a candidate for president, former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro proposed a police reform plan that he said would address “over-aggressive policing.” After months out of the spotlight following the end of his campaign, Castro spoke out this week, both on behalf of police reform and in support of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Castro told Texas Standard host David Brown on Wednesday that some of the responses to protests around the U.S. are examples of over-aggressive policing.
“If you’ve seen these military-style vehicles or combat gear – [they’re] any number of ways that the federal government has supplied the machinery of war to local police departments,” Castro said.
He said this kind of equipment gives some officers a “combat mentality.”
Castro endorsed Biden Tuesday, after which Biden addressed Castro in a tweet, referring to the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Julián — I made a promise to George’s family that he wouldn’t just become another hashtag. We’re going to tackle this head on — and we’re going to need your help to do it. Grateful for your support. https://t.co/D0Ssv4hU2S
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 2, 2020
Castro said he had been impressed by Biden’s speech on Tuesday, when the former vice president also called for police reform.
“I made police reform a big part of my vision for this country,” Castro said, “because I know so many people in this country deal with [police violence] on a daily basis.”
Castro advocates demilitarizing policing, ending stop-and-frisk policies and racial profiling. He said political will is required to accomplish those goals. He said voters should ask political candidates to take a stand on police reform issues.
In a time of tight finances for local governments, Castro said public safety spending should be up for discussion.
“I absolutely believe that police departments and fire departments should be subject to the same budget scrutiny [as other departments],” Castro said.
He said the percentage of local budgets allocated to police has continued to rise, even as crime rates have declined.
Castro said he doesn’t interpret Biden’s tweet to him as a job offer, nor does Castro plan to return to Washington, D.C., if there were to be a Biden administration.
Web story by Shelly Brisbin.
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