For the first time, Hillary Clinton addressed the recent non-indictments of white police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson and Staten Island. “I know that a lot of hearts are breaking and we are asking ourselves, ‘Aren’t these our sons? Aren’t these our brothers?’” Clinton said. She said she is “very pleased” that the Department of Justice will investigate the events that led to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and said that America’s criminal justice system is “out of balance.” She praised the police officers who do “keep us safe and reduce crime and violence without relying on unnecessary force or excessive incarceration” and called for other departments to learn from their example.
Clinton also touched on the over-militarization of police, saying, “Let’s invest in what works. Let’s make sure that federal funds to state and local law enforcement are used to bolster best practices rather than buy weapons of war that have no place in our streets or contribute to unnecessary force or arrests.” Clinton also urged listeners not to leave change up to the people in charge. “The most important thing that each of us can do is to try even harder to see the world through our neighbor’s eyes, to imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes, to share their pain and their hopes and their dreams,” she said. “These tragedies did not happen in some faraway place. They didn’t happen to some other people. These are our streets, our children, our fellow Americans, and our grief.”