Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the NAACP national convention in Cincinnati on Monday, in which she reassured the black community she will take issues of disproportionate police brutality seriously. Noting that recent shootings of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas endangers the movement for criminal justice reform, Clinton promised she would not forget those slain by police:
“The deaths of Alton [Sterling] and Philando [Castille] drove home how urgently we need to make reforms to policing and criminal justice. How we cannot rest until we root out implicit bias and stop the killings of African-Americans. Because there is as–you know so well–a hard truth at the heart of this complex matter: many African-Americans fear the police. I can hear you. Some of you in this room. And today, there are people all across America sick over what happened in Baton Rouge and in Dallas but also fearful that the murders of police officers means that vital questions about police-community relations will go unanswered.”
Clinton has proposed to hold police departments accountable by requiring accurate data on in-custody deaths, creating clear national use-of-force guidelines, passing legislation to end racial profiling, and supporting independent investigations of fatal encounters with the police.
“Let’s admit it: There is clear evidence that African-Americans are disproportionately killed in police incidents compared to any other group,” Clinton said, acknowledging also that black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to prison than their white counterparts. She promised not to ignore it and to make things right with the cooperation of voters. Clinton also stressed the need for criminal justice reform with “real follow through.”
Clinton went on to discuss mass incarceration and stated that, if elected, she would work to get rid of the disparity in crack and cocaine sentencing laws, eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline, make “significant investments” in re-entry programs, and “ban the box” nationwide.
“When the 24 hour news cycle moves on, I won’t,” Clinton promised. “This is too important.”