COLUMBUS, OH (October 15, 2019) – On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, presidential candidate and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro discussed the topic of mandatory buybacks and the disparate impact on Black and Brown communities at tonight’s Democratic debate.
“I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities, because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that,” said Secretary Julián Castro.
Secretary Castro highlighted that communities of color are disproportionately likely to have negative interactions with members of law enforcement, unavoidable in a mandatory buyback system. According to Mapping Police Violence, black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than white Americans, and 21% of black victims were unarmed, compared to 14% of white Americans.
Secretary Castro pointed to the case of Atatiana Jefferson, who was slain in her own home by a police officer in Fort Worth on October 12. Officer Aaron Dean approached Jefferson’s home and shot her through the window within 4 seconds, without identifying himself or attempting to de escalate.
Secretary Castro put forward the first platform to reform policing in the United States, focusing on ending over-aggressive policing, combating racially discriminatory policing, holding police accountable, and starting to mend the divide between communities and law enforcement.
Under Secretary Castro’s “People First Policing” plan, he would end qualified immunity which prevents many victims of police violence from getting the justice they deserve. His plan also calls for alternatives to armed police responding to non-emergency calls, by establishing partnerships between mental health units and first responders.
Secretary Castro has also put forward a comprehensive plan to address the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S., supporting common sense reforms like universal background checks, limiting the capacity of magazines, promoting Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, increasing the excise tax on firearms and ammunition, and a renewed assault weapons ban and voluntary buyback program. According to data compiled by Mother Jones, there were 9.2 deaths per year in mass shootings in the 10 years that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was in effect. In the years since, the rate has gone up to 43.6 deaths per year.