Washington, July 19 (IANS) US Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised on Monday that if elected to the White House, she will promote reforms so that African Americans no longer fear the police, but also said she will make sure that anyone who attacks law enforcement officers is brought to justice.
“This madness has to stop,” Clinton said about the death of three police officers at the hands of an ex-marine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday, 10 days after another five policemen lost their lives in a shooting in Dallas, Efe news reported.
Clinton gave a speech at the annual NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Convention and dedicated her first words to condemning the murders of police officers at Baton Rouge and to insist that the country has some “difficult, painful, essential work ahead of us to repair the bonds between our police and communities”.
Killing a police officer is a “terrible crime”… and “as President I will bring the full weight of the law to bear in making sure those who kill police officers are brought to justice. There can be no justification. No looking the other way,” she told the NAACP gathering in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Though she said that guaranteeing police safety will be her priority as President, she acknowledged that many black Americans, like her audience at the convention, are also frustrated by the cases of African Americans being slain by law enforcement.
“Many African-Americans fear the police,” the ex-Secretary of State said, but added, “we have to make it right. That means end-to-end reform in our criminal justice system, not half measures, but a full commitment with real follow-through.”
Clinton said there is “clear evidence” that blacks die at the hands of police much more often than members of other groups, and are likely to be “sentenced to longer prison terms than white men convicted of the same offences”.
“Something is profoundly wrong. We can’t ignore that, we can’t wish it away,” Efe news quoted Clinton as saying.
“So I pledge to do you I will start taking action on day one and every day after that until we get this done,” she said.
Clinton also criticised her presumptive Republican rival in the November election, Donald Trump, for turning down the NAACP’s invitation to speak at its convention and because he “plays coy with white supremacists”.
“My opponent in this race might have a different view, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here with all of you,” she said about Trump, currently in Cleveland at the other end of Ohio for the Republican National Convention.