Hillary Clinton, in Charlotte Sunday campaigning for the presidency, told members at Little Rock AME Zion Church that she knows her grandchildren are growing up in a different world than many black youth in the U.S. who are concerned about police shootings and gun violence in their communities.
Her remarks were a frank acknowledgment of what she has called “implicit bias” in policing and the impact it can have on black communities.
Clinton cited the death of 43-year-old Keith Scott, a black man who was shot by police in front of a Charlotte apartment complex on Sept. 20. She also lamented the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, who was shot days before during a Tulsa traffic stop. Both shootings led to community protests. The Tulsa police officer has pleaded not guilty to a manslaughter charge.
“I’m a grandmother, and like every grandmother, I worry about the safety and security of my grandchildren, but my worries are not the same as black grandmothers’, who have different and deeper fears about the world that their grandchildren face,” Clinton said.
Standing at the pulpit, Clinton mixed Bible verses with headlines about black men who have been shot by police and others in recent years – including Scott, whose death sparked days of nationally televised protest, some of it violent, in uptown Charlotte.
“It has been 12 days since Mr. Scott was shot and killed. Twelve days since his wife, Rakeyia Scott, watched her husband die, and seven children lost their father,” Clinton was quoted as saying by The Charlotte Observer. “We don’t yet know all the details about the shooting, but we do know this community and this family is in pain.”
Clinton described testimony that Taje Gaddy, 10, and Zianna Oliphant, 9, gave last week before the Charlotte City Council about violence in their community. Clinton later summoned Oliphant to join her on the stage.
“I wouldn’t be able to stand it if my grandchildren had to be scared and worried the way too many children across our country feel right now. But because my grandchildren are white, because they are the grandchildren of a former president and secretary of state, let’s be honest here, they won’t face the kind of fear that we heard from the children testifying before the city council,” Clinton said.
Clinton has made gun violence a focus of her presidential campaign. Mothers who have lost children in shootings have joined her on the campaign trail. Clinton has said police officers should be trained to recognize implicit bias and called for the official police video of the Charlotte shooting to be released.
Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, said at a rally after Crutcher’s shooting that it looked like he had done “everything he was supposed to do.” On Twitter, he criticized Clinton’s trip to Charlotte, which was postponed one week at the behest of the city’s mayor, as a chance to “grandstand.”
The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.