“This horrible shooting, again. How many times do we have to see this in our country?” asked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man whose death at the hands of a police officer was captured on video, sparking national outcry this week.
“In Tulsa? An unarmed man? With his hands in the air? I mean, this is just unbearable and it needs to be intolerable,” she continued during a Tuesday appearance on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. “You know, maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, ‘Look, this is not who we are.’ We’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias.”
Attorneys for the officer involved in Crutcher’s death in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Friday reportedly say she thought the man was reaching for a weapon when she shot him. The New York Times reports that “The helicopter video appears to show that at least one of Mr. Crutcher’s hands was raised when he was shot.”
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the officer’s use of force, according to Reuters, and the State of Oklahoma is conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.
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Clinton’s comments on Crutcher’s death come just days after delivering a speech to the Black Women’s Agenda Symposium in Washington, D.C., where she outlined some of the policies she presumably saw as important to Black women. Though her speech briefly touched on the need for criminal justice reform, Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the civil-rights focused Advancement Project, told Rewire that the nature of the speech didn’t allow the candidate to pitch specific solutions, such as what should be done about policing and police brutality.
“Black women need to hear about how the next president is going to deal with the daily harassment and the number of killings that we have seen at the hands of police officers,” said Dianis.
“Unfortunately, there has been a lot of comforting of police officers” during this election season, “and not a clear vision for how we are going to ensure that police culture and practices change so that Black people feel safe in their communities from those who have badges and guns,” she continued.
Like in her Friday address which envisioned at future “where everyone has respect for the law and is respected by the law,” Clinton’s response to Crutcher’s death again made sure to address both law enforcement and the communities they police. This time, however, Clinton called for law enforcement to “rein in” some of their actions.
“There are good, honorable, cool-headed police officers,” Clinton told host Steve Harvey. “We can do better. We have got to rein in what is absolutely inexplicable, and we’ve got to have law enforcement respect communities and communities respect law enforcement because they have to work together.”
Earlier in her appearance, Clinton did issue some specific calls for change, including addressing systemic racism and supporting historically Black universities. The Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign website includes an outline of how she would address criminal justice reforms, including policing.
If elected, Clinton would, among other things, work to bring “law enforcement and communities together to develop national guidelines on the use of force by police officers,” commit $1 billion from her administration’s first budget to combat implicit bias in police departments across the country, and provide federal matching funds to supply police with body cameras.