On Thursday, Hillary Rodham Clinton said that she was behind President Barak Obama’s plan to create police tactics review task force. Clinton also praised the decision by the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Staten Island death of black man, who was unarmed, by a white police officer.
“Each of us has to grapple with some hard truths about race and justice in America,” said Clinton. She added, “Because in spite of all the progress we’ve made together, African-Americans, most particularly African-American men, are still more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms.” Clinton talked about the recent deaths of Mr. Brown and Mr. Garner saying, “These are our streets, our children, our fellow Americans and our grief.”
The former U.S. Secretary of State made a call for police to change tactics. She also called for local police departments to be demilitarized, removing military grade weapons from their arsenal, and a review and changes to the prison system, which is overcrowded. “A third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their lifetimes,” Clinton said. The former First Lady continued on, saying that these items that need to be reviewed and changed have had consequences that have been devastating to families and local communities. She feels that the federal funds issued to police departments should be used on training to build better practices and tactics by police instead buying military weapons of war that should not be in the hands of anyone on American streets.
These comments made by the potential presidential candidate made these remarks on Thursday in Boston at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. The comments were personal, heartfelt, and at times took the tone of a caring mother. During her talk at the conference, she asked those in attendance, professional, mainly white women, to try to image themselves as an African-American man and what it is like in the world today in light of recent events. Clinton wanted the women to try to see the world through the eyes of someone who could be their neighbor, and how different the world could be. The former Senator continued, saying, “Try to imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes, to share their pain and their hopes and their dreams.” Clinton then quoted the father of Michael Brown, “We are stronger united.”
Clinton echoed Obama’s recent praise of law enforcement all over the nation. Obama had said, and Clinton reiterated that there are police departments in the nation that are bother creative and effective. These departments are showing every day that it is possible to reduce the violence and crime, while keeping everyone safe. These departments are doing this without relying on a need of unnecessary force or incarceration. Clinton said that there are honorable, decent, and brave law enforcement officer in communities across the U.S. Obama’s probe of police departments that is supported by Clinton is a step towards truly making American streets safe for all people.
The speech by the former US Senator and Secretary of State was her first statement to the public about grand jury decisions. The statements came one day after the grand jury in Staten Island voted not to charge a NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner. It also came a week after a grand jury in St. Louis County decided against bringing charges against a Ferguson, MO police officer involved in the death of Michael Brown.
Clinton said to the crowd of 10,000 that although there have been decades of advances for minorities, African-Americans are often still stopped and searched by police, at times just because of the color of their skin, and then charged with crimes resulting in longer prison sentences. She said that one-third of African-American men could see the chance of a prison sentence in their lifetime. Pausing briefly before she continued, Clinton said, “What devastating consequences that has for their families and their communities, and all of us.” While there are a number of police departments across the country with honest, hard-working officers keeping everyone safe, the Obama police probe that Clinton supports is a necessary step in ensuring that all people are guaranteed their constitutional rights and not unfairly targeted by law enforcement because of the color of their skin.
By Carl Auer