Former Obama official and Democrat presidential candidate Julián Castro has introduced an extensive plan designed to combat “police brutality” in the United States.
The former mayor of San Antonio teased the agenda, which appears to be a fundamental part of his campaign, during Saturday’s speech at MoveOn.org’s “Big Ideas” forum. Castro’s official press release touts the plan as “one of the most broad and consequential overhauls of local policing in decades” and “the first proposal of its kind released by a 2020 presidential contender.”
Castro’s agenda, officially titled the “People First Policing Plan,” is three-fold and features ending “over-aggressive” and “racially discriminatory” policing, holding officers accountable, and beginning the “healing process” between police departments and the communities they serve.
Castro plans to achieve the first objective by implementing national standards for police conduct, using federal funding as a carrot and stick approach. Specifically, Castro hopes to increase the use of body cameras, restrict the use of deadly force, and require police departments to complete forms of “accredited implicit bias” and “racial equity training.” One of his more controversial ideas involves the establishment of racial quotas in police departments in hopes of building a more “representative police force.” In other words, Castro wants to revamp police departments to ensure that they “look like the communities they serve.”
The plan’s second objective centers around officer accountability, which Castro plans to boost with “transparency and data.” This involves collecting additional data on everything, including dentitions, frisks, stops, summons, and arrests. It also calls for stricter reporting requirements, thereby eliminating “consequence-free” weapon discharges by officers. Police departments failing to meet Castro’s standards would face “proactive” investigations as a consequence.
Castro’s plan also focuses on mending the relationship between police departments and their respective communities. He would achieve this, in part, via an executive order designed to “end the transfer of tracked and wheeled armored vehicles, high-caliber rifles, aircraft equipped with weapons, grenade launchers, and other military weapons, vehicles, and equipment under the federal government’s 1033 program.”
During the Q&A session that followed his preview Saturday, Castro claimed the solution went far beyond criminal justice reform. Universal pre-k and universal health care serve as integral pieces of his agenda.
“It’s much bigger than just police reform. It’s about reforming our criminal justice system. I believe we should do that– sentencing reform. Investing in public defenders. Cash bail reform,” Castro said Saturday.
“It’s making sure that we do things like universal pre-k for three and four-year-olds, so that everybody gets a strong start in their life with education, no matter who you are or what neighborhood you come from,” he continued.
“It’s making sure that everybody has health care in this country,” he added. “It’s making sure that we have a 21st century safety net and that we do this with a critical eye toward the way that this affects communities of color.”
Castro’s press release echoed his original remarks, highlighting his desire to “invest in programs that address root causes and find alternatives to criminal justice interventions by providing increased funding for drug treatment, mental health support, educational completion programs, youth programs, both in-court and out-of-court diversion programs for non-violent offenses, and supportive interventions for families in crisis, including through universal health care coverage that extends Medicare to all Americans, covering mental health and drug treatment support.”