In the 90s, before Hillary Clinton was taking private meetings with Deray McKesson and campaigning on promises to end mass incarceration and reform mandatory minimums, she was a little less enlightened, shall we say, on issues around race and criminal justice. At a speech last night, two Black Lives Matter activists took her to task for it.
In the video above, Clinton is seen speaking at a private fundraiser in South Carolina. As the candidate begins speaking about the need for police body cameras, an activist named Ashley Williams steps forward and unfurls a small banner that reads “We have to bring them to heel.”
The quote refers to a speech Clinton made in 1994 in support of that year’s sweeping federal crime bill, which contributed billions of dollars to expansion of the prison system and imposed more severe sentences for many offenders. In other words, it created or contributed significantly to many of the problems Clinton now professes to hope to solve. (Bill Clinton recently said he made mass incarceration worse by signing the bill.)
“I’m not a super predator, Hillary Clinton” Williams said when Clinton noticed the sign, referencing another snippet from the speech. “Will you apologize to black people for mass incarceration?”
Williams told the Huffington Post that she and a colleague donated $500 to the Clinton campaign to gain access to the event. She said she was eventually removed from the event by Secret Service agents.
Watch a clip from the ‘94 speech below, in which Clinton sounds troublingly like a neighborhood resident being interviewed about the knockout game on local news.