A Republican and two Democratic presidential candidates took part in a criminal justice forum Saturday at a historically black university in South Carolina, offering very different visions on the federal government's role in addressing injustices against African-Americans, reports The State in Columbia, S.C. Republican hopeful Ben Carson characterized police violence against blacks as isolated events born out of a lack of “mutual respect” between African Americans and police. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, both seeking the Democratic nomination, offered a slate of policy proposals to combat unfair treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were among the majority of declared candidates who did not attend the forum, hosted by a bipartisan group of African-American business, legal and government professionals from across the U.S. that formed this year to push for the inclusion of criminal justice in the presidential debate. Sanders and O'Malley said they would push to reduce incarceration rates for African-Americans, equip all police with body cameras, decriminalize marijuana and demilitarize police departments, among other proposals.