They took my call to action seriously. Within a month of the meeting, the police department launched a new campaign to try to encourage witnesses to step forward. And in time, we were able to reduce the backlog of unsolved homicides by 25 percent. Not every case could be solved, but we made sure we worked hard to ensure that every one that could be was. Some people were surprised I was so relentless. And I know some others questioned how I, as a black woman, could countenance being part of “the machine” putting more young men of color behind bars. There is no doubt that the criminal justice system has deep flaws, that it is broken in fundamental ways. And we need to deal with that. But we cannot overlook or ignore that mother’s pain, that child’s death, that murderer who still walks the streets. I believe there must be serious consequences for people who commit serious crimes.
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