Black Activists Heckle, Turn On Clinton; Accuse Him Of “Destroying Their Communities”

Black Activists Heckle, Turn On Clinton; Accuse Him Of “Destroying Their Communities”

Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2016 18:10 -0400

It is no secret that one of the core support groups behind Hillary’s presidential campaign are black voters. Which is why it came as a surprise when none other than Bill Clinton faced down protesters angry at the impact his 1994 crime reforms have had on black Americans and defended the record of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is relying on the support of black voters in her quest for the presidency.

As Reuters reports, the former president spent more than 10 minutes confronting the protesters at a campaign rally in Philadelphia for his wife over criticisms that the crime bill he approved while president led to a surge in the imprisonment of black people. Clinton’s speech devolved into confusion when several protesters heckled the former president mid-speech and held up signs, including one that read: “CLINTON Crime Bill Destroyed Our Communities.”

Bill Clinton’s remarks on Thursday drew criticism online. Some saw him as dismissive of the Black Lives Matter movement, a national outgrowth of anger over a string of encounters in which police officers killed unarmed black people. Johnetta Elzie, a civil rights activist, wrote online that Clinton “can’t handle being confronted by his own record.”

“This is like watching a robot malfunction,” she wrote. She was referring to Bill, not Hillary.

Ahead of Clinton’s speech activists in the Black Lives Matter protest movement circulated video footage of Hillary Clinton defending Bill’s reforms in 1994. In the footage, she calls young people in gangs “super-predators” who need to “be brought to heel.” Hillary Clinton, 68, who also has faced protesters upset by her remarks, said in February she regretted her language.

To be sure, Bill Clinton defended her 1994 remarks, which protesters say were racially insensitive, and suggested the protesters’ anger was misplaced.

“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” he said, shaking his finger at a heckler as Clinton supporters cheered, according to video of the event. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She (Hillary Clinton) didn’t.”

The question whether they are good citizens aside, the bigger problem is that absolutely nothing has been done to even address a problem of gang violence which has resulted in a record surge in gun homicides in cities such as Obama’s own Chicago, as we reported last week.

That said, Clinton was right: “You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter,” he told a protester. “Tell the truth.” Many have criticized the Black Lives Matter activists for actively attacking white people, while openly ignoring the problems within their own society.

One thing is clear, however: whether as a result of Clinton’s crime bill or not, the United States has more people in prison than any other country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1.05 million prisoners were held in federal or state facilities in 1994. By 2014, it was 1.56 million. That year, 6 percent of all black men in their 30s were in prison, a rate six times higher than that of white men of the same age.

On Thursday confusion ensued over whether or not Clinton defended his legislation: the former president said last year that he regretted signing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act into law because it contributed to the high incarceration rate of black people for nonviolent crimes. On Thursday, he did not explicitly recant those regrets, but appeared to be angry at any suggestion the bill was wholly bad.

The legislation imposed tougher sentences, put thousands more police on the streets and helped fund the building of extra prisons. It was known for its federal “three strikes” provision that sent violent offenders to prison for life. The bill was backed by congressional Republicans and hailed at the time as a success for Clinton.

Hillary Clinton promised to end “mass incarceration” in the first major speech of her campaign last year. She has won the support of the majority of black voters in every state nominating contest so far, often by a landslide.

And while many attack Trump on flipflopping on many issues, this is becoming one particular topic that may have a lasting impact on Hillary’s core support group if left unresolved. During Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential bid, civil rights leaders and high-ranking Democrats in Congress criticized the former president for statements he made during a heated campaign against then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton said Obama’s campaign had “played the race card.” Obama became the first U.S. black president in November that year.

Leave a Reply