Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out for the first time Thursday on the police shooting of Michael Brown and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Mo.
“Watching the recent funeral for Michael Brown, as a mother, as a human being, my heart just broke for his family,” she said at a conference hosted by Nextenta, a software company, in San Francisco. “Because losing a child is every parent’s greatest fear and an unimaginable loss. But I also grieve for that community and for many like it across our country.”
Clinton, the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, spoke extensively about the systematic racial inequity that factored into the outcry over Brown’s killing. She had previously been criticized by some African-American leaders for not addressing the shooting.
“We can’t ignore the inequities that persist in our justice system that undermine our most deeply held values of fairness and equality,” she said. “Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers instead of the other way around.”
“That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans and so many of the communities in which they live.”
She also praised President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for their response to the crisis and touched on the images of police militarization that had become a secondary controversy during the protests.
“I applaud President Obama for sending the attorney general to Ferguson and demanding a thorough and speedy investigation,” Clinton said, “to find out what happened, to see that justice is done, to help this community begin healing itself.”
“This is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray,” she said. “Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone, not in America. We are better than that.”