News & Politics

Tulsi Goes for the Throat: 'People Suffered' Under Kamala's 'Reign'

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The only great moment of the entire second Democrat debate was the cat fight between Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard. It was great TV.

Gabbard went for the throat and tore Harris apart over her time as California’s chief prosecutor, saying, “I’m deeply concerned about this record…she put over 1,500 people in jail over marijuana violations, then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

Harris did indeed tell radio jockeys that she smoked marijuana, deeply embarrassing her Jamaican father, who saw it as stereotyping their culture. He spoke out strongly against her statements.

Harris “blocked evidence that would have freed a man from death row until the courts forced her to do so,” Gabbard charged.

The Sacramento Bee confirmed this charge, reporting, “In February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new DNA testing in the 1983 murder case of Kevin Cooper. Cooper came within hours of execution in 2004 after being charged with the murders of an adult couple and two children. Harris opposed the testing when she was the state’s attorney general.” Harris was also connected to a huge scandal she presided over where a drug testing lab used by the state to convict people was found to have mishandled evidence and her office did not disclose it.

While the San Francisco Police Department was responsible for running the lab, not Harris’s district attorney office, a court ruled in 2010 that the district attorney’s office violated defendants’ constitutional rights by not disclosing what it knew about the tainted drug evidence.

The lab was shut down after a lead technician, who testified on behalf of prosecutors on drug cases, was found to have systematically mishandled the drug samples seized from suspects, even consuming some herself.

Judge Anne-Christine Masullo wrote in her decision that prosecutors “at the highest levels of the district attorney’s office knew that Madden was not a dependable witness at trial and that there were serious concerns regarding the crime lab.”

Tulsi continued swinging away, “She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California and she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.” The Daily Beast reported on that back in February:

According to court filings, lawyers for the state said California met benchmarks, and argued that if certain potential parolees were given a faster track out of prison, it would negatively affect the prison’s labor programs, including one that allowed certain inmates to fight California’s wildfires for about $2 a day.

“Extending 2-for-1 credits to all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought,” lawyers for Harris wrote in the filing, noting that the fire camp program required physical fitness in addition to a level of clearance that allowed the felon to be offsite.

Not surprisingly, Harris claimed to know nothing about it.

As to increasing bail, she was recorded arguing in favor of it, just like Gabbard said.

Speaking at a May 2004 event, audio of which was first reported by the Free Beacon, Harris argued the city’s low bail meant people came to commit cheaper crimes in San Francisco.

“I truly believe that we can have the best DA’s office in the state and San Francisco and um, and so on a daily basis, the work that I have to do and where I have to put my mind in terms of my priorities is on things like, you know, sitting down with, with Russ, my chief assistant, and talking with them about the fact that we’re going to change the bail schedule,” she said.

“The people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor,” said Gabbard, “you owe them an apology.” It’s fair to say that Harris received a major wound last night and it’s likely that her easily-verifiable record will continue to dog her throughout her campaign.