By Political Editor
After a week of high-profile police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and the recent ambush and killing of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, TX, the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, published this statement on her public page on Facebook on Friday, July 8, 2016:,
The deaths of Alton and Philando are the latest in a long and painful litany of African Americans killed in police incidents – 123 so far this year alone. We know the names of other victims, too: Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Dontre Hamilton. Laquan McDonald. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Freddie Gray. Brandon Tate-Brown. And tragically, we could go on and on. The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen.
People are also crying out for criminal justice reform. Families are being torn apart by excessive incarceration. Young people are threatened and humiliated by racial profiling. Children are growing up in homes shattered by prison and poverty. They’re trying to tell us. We need to listen.
Brave police officers are working hard every day to inspire trust and confidence. As we mourn the Dallas police officers who died and pray for those wounded, let’s not forget how the Dallas Police Department in particular has earned a reputation for excellence. They’ve worked hard for years to improve policing and strengthen their bonds with the community. And they’ve gotten results. Police officers across the country are pouring their hearts into this work, because they know how vital it is to our country. They’re trying to tell us. We need to listen.
People are crying out for relief from gun violence. Things have become so broken in Washington that just to try to get a vote on commonsense gun safety reforms, John Lewis himself had to stage a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives. Gun violence is ripping apart people’s lives. They’re trying to tell us. We need to listen.
I know that, just by saying all these things together, I may upset some people. I’m talking about criminal justice reform the day after a horrific attack on police officers. I’m talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota. I’m bringing up guns in a country where merely talking about comprehensive background checks, limits on assault weapons and the size of ammunition clips gets you demonized.
But all these things can be true at once. We do need police and criminal justice reforms, to save lives and make sure all Americans are treated as equal in rights and dignity. We do need to support police departments and stand up for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. We do need to reduce gun violence. We may disagree about how, but surely we can all agree with those basic premises. Surely this week showed us how true they are.
Note: Photo courtesy of Hillary Clinton .com
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