On Wednesday round two of the Democratic debates took place in the Motor City and gave a huge platform to issues that Black voters are eyeing.
From the mishandling of the Eric Garner case, to policing and prison reform policy, the night covered several hot button topics rarely discussed by prominent politicians.
In terms of speaking time former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris dominated according to a CNN graph which shows Biden spoke for about 13:09 minutes, while Harris spoke for 11:55 minutes.
One of the most prolific parts of Tuesday’s debate was when New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was grilled about the NYPD’s failure to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold. De Blasio, who is already unpopular with the New York Police Department Union over comments he made referring to fearing the safety of his son Dante in 2014, made the reference at the height of the Eric Garner murder.
But for a few moments, De Blasio was forced to verbally respond to the question on the global stage as the world watched.
While de Blasio promised that justice would come for the Garner family in the “next 30 days” after the Department of Justice failed to bring forth charges against Pantaleo in July. He went on to say that the ongoing investigation by the DOJ, handicapped the city’s administration from being able to act on firing Pantaleo, and in order to avoid a lawsuit, the city decided to wait for the DOJ’s decision.
Several candidates took the liberty to address de Blasio on the issue, including Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Activist and Women’s March founder Tamika Mallory was one of the protesters who interrupted during the Pantaleo/Garner discussion during the debate. She later tweeted to further explain what occurred during the demonstration.
In the end de Blasio promised that another event like the death of Eric Garner would never occur again.
“And in the meantime, what I’m working on is making sure — and I have for five years — there will never be another tragedy,” he continued. “There will never be another Eric Garner because we’re changing fundamentally how we police.”
De Blasio will have to do much policy wise in the time he has left as mayor to make this true. Because every day in New York City, and across the country, cases like Eric Garner’s seem to spur up again and again.