India Post News Service
Oakland, CA: Pamela Price won the election for District Attorney from Alameda County. Pamela is a civil rights attorney and first African American to win the DA election in the county. She was endorsed by ‘Americans4Hindus’ for this campaign. During the campaign, Pamela worked closely with Hindu community in addressing hate crimes and supporting the minorities. Pamela’s victory marks one of several high-profile wins that ‘Americans4Hindus’ has endorsed and supported.
Below is an interview she gave to India Post on Thursday, November 17 after winning the election.
IP: What are your top priorities as DA?
The work to transform how justice has been administered in Alameda County is going to take many changes from within the DA’s office and how it operates as well as the policies which drive the outcomes. Here are 7 priorities that are a good start on the work:
End money bail by adopting and sharing with our justice partners a comprehensive race-neutral, evidence-based pretrial assessment tool and establish a network of community-based release options to replace our unfair money bail system.
Focus on minimizing the system impacts and adverse consequences for people with mental illness which will have a significant positive impact on our community and reduce the backlog in the courts.
Conduct an immediate assessment of the current criteria and resources available for each alternative court and set quantifiable goals to increase the effective use of these courts while also working to establish a network of neighborhood court systems in order to create more effective pathways for accountability for veterans, people with mental health challenges, those suffering from serious mental illness and/or drug addiction.
Immediately end all cooperation with ICE and the use of deportation as a plea-deal tactic.
Establish a Public Accountability Unit to address public corruption in my office and in law enforcement offices and ensure that bias and/or conflicts of interest are addressed and evaluated in every case, including matters involving police, public and elected officials.
Immediately direct all deputies to identify cases where the office has charged or incarcerated a youth under the age of 18 as an adult and review them for alternative dispositions, and impose a prohibition on charging youths as adults on all future cases subject to prosecution in our office.
Immediately direct all deputies to identify cases where the office has been seeking the death penalty and review them for alternative dispositions, and impose a prohibition on the death penalty on all future cases subject to prosecution in our office.
IP: How do you propose to help contain hate crimes in Alameda County?
In California, the reported hate crime events increased 31.0 percent from 1,015 in 2019 to 1,330 in 2020. Reported Anti-Latinx events increased by 38.2%, while anti-Asian hate crimes also increased dramatically, and anti-Black hate crimes remained consistently high as well.
As an African-American woman and the descendant of slaves, I am fully aware of the long history of hate crimes against people of color, including Asian Americans. Black people remain the favored target for white supremacist violence in this country, while the rise in crime against Asian Americans was obviously driven by racist rants of our former President. He made it ok to target Asians along with Black and Brown people, LGBTQIA+, Muslims and Jews.
The DA’s role is to protect public safety for all communities, and fight hate in all its forms (Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism, Asian Hate, Sexism and LGBTQIA+ Hate). As District Attorney, I will prioritize the needs of all racial, ethnic or religious minorities. We will create a Hate Crimes unit that aids all of our internal divisions and units in the protection of victims of hate crimes. We must insist that Alameda County be a hate-free community for all of us, and amplify the message that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” Like when one union strikes, all of labor stands with them.
We also need to make sure the composition of the DA’s office reflects the diversity of Alameda County and create a space for victims of crimes to be seen, heard and supported. We will work to make sure that our victim services are delivered in culturally responsive ways and that our workforce reflects the varied life experiences that the people of Alameda County live. As DA, I will work to make sure we are hiring staff and prosecutors who understand the nuances of different cultures and train staff on how something as simple as a pronoun or a greeting can affect how we service the people we interact with daily.
IP: There is a marked increase in crimes against Asian minorities and Hindus. What can community do to stop these?
We must treat the Asian and Hindu communities in our County with the same level of respect that we demand for every other community. We will create a Hate Crimes unit that aids all of our internal divisions and units in the protection of victims of hate crimes. The Asian and Hindu community obviously demands that we do our part to protect public safety, and to the extent we can empower the community to respond to race-based crimes, we shall assist in supporting those efforts. I believe that holding people accountable through a neighborhood courts program has been shown in other places to work well to reduce crime, reduce recidivism and I believe our invitation to residents to engage in the justice system will make us stronger and safer.