Hillary Clinton on Thursday endorsed President Barack Obama’s creation of a task force to examine police practices and called for "whatever substantive reforms are necessary to ensure equality, justice and respect for every citizen" in the wake of intense anger and protests after grand juries opted against indicting police officers in the killings of black men in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.
The likely Democratic presidential contender largely echoed views expressed by other Democrats, such as Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have said the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown should inspire a broader national debate about race and policing.
“These tragedies did not happen in some faraway place, they did not happen to some other people,” she said, speaking at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. “These are our streets, our children, our fellow Americans and our grief.”
Like Obama, she urged a closer look at the use of military-style weapons by local police officers, calling them “weapons of war that have no place on our streets.”
The former secretary of state said that she's pleased that the Department of Justice will be investigating both the Staten Island and Ferguson incidents.
"The United States has less than 5% of the world's population, yet we have almost 25% of the world's prison population. Now that is not because Americans are more violent and criminal than others around the world, in fact that is far from the facts, but it is because we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance," she told the crowd of several thousand women. "And I personally hope that these tragedies give us the opportunity to come together as a nation to find our balance again."
She spoke for about five minutes about the police issues at the start of her speech in Boston before shifting to the original theme of event, which was women’s advancement in society.
Clinton is expected to opt to run for president, although Democrats say she is still considering her decision. Like a presidential candidate, she is already choosing to weigh in on major national issues even when they don't direct relate to the audience Clinton is addressing, like on Thursday. And her agreement with Obama on policing mirrors Clinton's comments for most of the year, in which she has agreed with her former rival's approach on nearly every issue.