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A routine press conference in front of the Hall of Justice erupted into an argument Wednesday when District Attorney Terence Hallinan’s supporters heatedly challenged assertions Kamala Harris was making about the incumbent’s domestic violence record. Armed with statistics, Harris told a small crowd of reporters that “Terence Hallinan is lying to us about his domestic violence record and women are dying because of it.” While she’s held numerous press conferences during her campaign to highlight a variety of issues, it’s rare for Hallinan supporters to show up. This time, they loudly disputed Harris’ take on the DA’s domestic violence record. Mark MacNamara, spokesman for the DA’s office, said he wandered down to the steps of the Hall of Justice when he heard there was a 10 a.m. press conference. When Harris commented that files in a domestic violence case were lost or misplaced, MacNamara interjected, “That’s not true.” Two prosecutors, as well as Hallinan’s campaign spokeswoman, also offered their comments after Harris left the scene, getting into a heated, sometimes personal, back-and-forth with Harris campaign workers. Murlene Randle, No. 2 in Hallinan’s office, and Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi, the head of the office’s narcotics unit, gave two reporters their side of the story under the watchful eyes of Harris campaign workers. “There has been no other DA who has stood behind domestic violence as strong as Terence has,” Randle said. “Out of all the cases that we prosecuted in all the years that Terence has been DA, I guess [Harris] can come up with two to try to shame him with. “My mother was a domestic violence victim,” Randle said, adding that she wouldn’t work for someone who doesn’t take such crimes seriously. At Harris’ side during the press conference was Clara Tempongko, whose daughter was stabbed to death in 2000. Tempongko said the DA’s office and the police department failed her daughter. “It’s been three years now. The criminal is still at large.” Harris also provided a written statement from a previous victim of Elbert Flowers, who was arrested earlier this year for allegedly burning another woman with a hot iron. Flowers’ plea bargain for the earlier victim’s 1998 stabbing included jail time, but Hallinan’s critics say he got off too easy. Harris said the DA’s office should have put Flowers through a trial or negotiated a tougher deal. The Flowers resolution was approved through proper channels by now-Judge Susan Breall, then the chief of the division for crimes against women, Randle told reporters after the press conference. To question that decision now, she added, “is Monday-morning quarterbacking.”

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