Candidates Discuss Race in America

Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders discuss important issues at the ABC News Democratic debate.
6:10 | 12/20/15

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Transcript for Candidates Discuss Race in America
Secretary Clinton want to turn to race now in America. There is a real concern in this country from black lives matter and from other community groups that we're just now seeing with Smartphones and cell phones what many have been dealing with for years. When they come in contact with police. But you also have many in law enforcement who now say there's been a so called Ferguson effect. Police holding bat because they're afraid of backlash and that the FBI director calling to chill wind blowing through American law enforcement. So if elected president how would you bridge the divide between the two. David I think this is one and most important. Challenges facing not just our next president but our country. We had out systemic. Racism and injustice in an equities. In our. Country and in particular and our. Justice system that must be addressed and must be ended. I feel very strongly that we have to reform our criminal justice system and we have to find ways to try to. The ring. Law enforcement together again with the communities that they are sworn to protect. Trust has been totally lost a lot of places. At the same time we know that in many parts of our country police officers are bridging those divides. And they're acting heroically the young officer who was killed responding to the Planned Parenthood. Murders the officer told the victims. Of the San Bernardino. Killings that he would take a bullet before them. So I think that we need to build on the work of the policing commission that President Obama impaneled. We need to get a bipartisan. Commitment to work together on this. And we need to hear the voices of those men and women and boys and girls. Who feel like strangers in their own country. And do whatever is necessary to not only deal with the immediate problems with in the criminal justice system. But more opportunities more jobs better education. So that we can be begin to rebuild that. Very valuable. Asset known as trust. Secretary thank you governor O'Malley how would you. There is no issue in American public policy that I have worked on more day in and day out. Then this painful issue of of policing of law enforcement criminal justice and race in America. When I ran in 1999 David Merrick from Arab Baltimore our city by that geared become the most addicted violent and abandoned in America. But we came together. I've brought people together over some very deep racial divide us. And we are able to put our city on a path for the biggest reduction in crime of any major city in America over the next ten years as governor. We continue to work together we reduce violent crime the thirty year lows but get this we also reduced incarceration rates to twenty year lows. So it is possible actually. To find the things that actually work. That we did. Increasing drug treatment. Using big debt at bat to better protect the lives of young people cut juvenile crime in half. And it's also possible to improve how we police our police but there wasn't a single day as Merrill Baltimore. But I wasn't asked whether I was delivering on the promise I made to police the police we reported excessive force does courtesy. Use of lethal force if fact drove down to three of the four Lois years on record. Police use of lethal force. As a nation we have to embrace this moment. And make our department's more open. More transparent and more accountable. Just a tree we require every major department every county to report its a major crimes we should require police departments to report their just courtesy. Brutality excessive force there's so much work that can't be done so much we've learned to do better we need to do it now as a nation. This is mark time and our opportunity to do that governor thank you in and senator Sanders. When you have the FBI director calling it a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement does that consider going concern you as well when you're out. This whole issue concerns and I agree with much of what the secretary in the government of sir but let's be clear. Today in America. We have more people in jail than any other country on earth 2.2 million people. For brought predominantly African American. And Hispanic we are spending eighty billion dollars to yield blocking all outlook fellow Americans. All right then and this is not in music. Well I think we need to make waging a major effort. To come together as a country end and institutional. Racism. We need major major reforms of a very broken criminal justice system the what does that mean well first thought it means. That police offices should not be shooting. On all people predominantly African Americans. That we have to rethink the sole cold war on drugs. Which has destroyed the lives of millions of people which is why. I have taken marijuana. Out all the controlled substance act. So that it will not be a federal crime that is why we need to make. That is why we need to make. Police that I speak as a former mayor I was a mayor praised its work very closely with the great police the plot. And what we did is try to move that the bought the toward community policing. So that the police officers become plot of the community and not as we see in some cities at a press so for us. We need to make police departments look like the communities they serve in terms of diversity we need to and minimal sentencing. We need basically to play much. That we going to invest in this country in jobs and education. Not war generals and incarceration editor thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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