Harris defends work as prosecutor after she’s questioned during debate

Sen. Kamala Harris discusses the criminal justice system and her work within it after ABC News' Democratic debate.
6:05 | 09/13/19

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Transcript for Harris defends work as prosecutor after she’s questioned during debate
Senator hearsay so much for joining us that that was a moment there at the debate with our moderator Lindsey Davis. You've been forced to defend your record as a prosecutor or are you proud of the work he did as a prosecutor. Well absolutely I did that work that I did was the word 'cause at first about becoming a prosecutors because I just having a very strong and natural desired at one protect people. And in particular our most vulnerable you know large part of my career as a courtroom prosecutor was. Handling cases that affected crimes against women and children. When I was selected as the district attorney in mind. The main motivation was to do what I could without asking permission to reform the criminal justice system from the inside. And so yes I am proud of the fact that I created in that capacity. The models that became national models of what we can do to reform America's criminal justice system for example creating an initiative that was about. People who had been arrested for drugs and giving them jobs. If it became a model that many progressive prosecutors actually ran on in other states and other cities. I created. At one of the first in the nation for a state law enforcement agency responsibility that my special agents would Wear body cameras and keep them on. First one of the first in the nation I believe state requirements that police officers are trained on racial bias and procedural justice. This is the work that I was able to do because I actually it was running beyond sadness and could make those decisions without asking permission do you think it's fear that there's a segment of the Democratic Party. Dad thinks it's a mark on your record that you worked for law enforcement is that fair. You know I think that that first vote we have to take knowledge that America's criminal justice system. Has been informed by racial bias in many ways it's and it is in desperate need of reform but we also have to agree. That all communities want public safety. And all communities want to know that if a woman is raped with a child is molested as. If it's it's one human being kills another human being that there will be serious consequence of accountability top all communities wanna know that is their home is burglarized. That they can call 911 and a police officer will sell up and take the K seriously. All communities wanna know it we're not gonna have excessive force we're not gonna have racial profiling that being brown or black we'll not be probable cause to be arrested. So I operate from the perspective that. We asked to be honest about the need for public safety the need for safe communities and let's talk about the various swayze we achieved that. And that is why in fact I have offered. A plan for reforming America's criminal justice system that the advocates have described as bulls. And as comprehensive as. And a large part of it is saying look it should not just be on the we should be thinking about the fact that if the goal is safe communities we got to put resources and a public education we have to put resources into housing we have to put resources into communities. And and that's truly the way we're energy public safety. What are your strategies tonight clearly was going after president trump from the get go you said he was watching. The debate and could turn back to Fox News you can work in the campaign truly doubt they're talking to voters as well what did you notice tonight about about this debate what do voters been telling you about senator Harris. Senator have been in it. People want to know why you're struggling to get support among African American voters and they're also curious what you think. About why the former vice president Joseph Biden has such durable support among that group of voters you've talked about how important they are what do you make of that at this stage in the race well. But there is an incredible amount of support there and listen I am still a citizen myself to the American people. I have not run for president that we have at least a couple people on the stage who have run once in some many times. I am still introducing myself to people and working on earning the votes of people and soup but honestly here's where things are strong here's a thing let's be really clear that. Because one thing that we should be really cautious about doing in that conversation about the selection is this whole electability issue. So let's just have that for what it is. First of all. The person who's going to be on that debate stage to defeat sound trump is going to be someone who has the ability to successfully prosecute the case. Against Donald Trump and and point out all that is on that rap sheet. That basically are indictable offenses for why he should not continue for another four years the person who's gonna defeat Donald Trump will be the person who. And the polls are telling in. Well actually defeat him on one on one IDC ten by significant margins. What we know also is that the person has to be on that stage to defeat Donald Trump can also lead our country has to have the ability to unifying. Not only our party but the country. Said I'm a unique ability. He did do that your colleague former colleague senator high campus question I. I had an idea and I wish that you would talk more about childhood trauma and the work that you did edge because that was such a significant part of your work as a prosecutor to recognize that foundational piece that involves children and building resiliency in children. And so banks involved why haven't you brought childhood trauma more in tier discussion well. Newark that I did as. Is as an elected DA an attorney general was highlighting the fact that. In so many of our communities we have undiagnosed and untreated trauma. Growing up in a community where there is violence will result in trauma and our children Austin which is not diagnose much less treated. Growing up in poverty look poverty is trauma inducing. Down but we are not diagnosing and treating it and it has. Predictable outcomes and so the work that I've done it has been about leaving basically what went has been a discussion around many places in our country rom has been a part of that. Around what we need to do to address it as a way to reduce crime in communities and accede to be safe and healthy communities. Senator Harris thank you so much for your time we appreciate your luck on the campaigning against these it is thanks guys thanks at a time I appreciate it RA take care.

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

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