Hillary Clinton has broken her silence on the ongoing conflict in Ferguson, Missouri, saying her heart breaks for Michael Brown’s family while also decrying the militarization of police forces.
Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb, leading to weeks of protests that often turned into rioting. The police department in Ferguson has been criticized not only for the shooting and its aftermath, but also for responding to both protesters and media with unnecessary force and heavy, military-like weapons.
Speaking at a technology conference in San Francisco, Hillary Clinton spoke out against the militarization of police forces.
“Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone, not in America,” Clinton said. “We are better than that.”
Clinton also expressed sympathy for Brown’s family.
“This summer, the eyes of our country and indeed of the world have been focused on one community in the middle of the American heartland: Ferguson, Missouri,” Clinton said. “Watching the recent funeral for Michael Brown, as a mother, as a human being, my heart just broke for his family because losing a child is every parent’s greatest fear and an unimaginable loss.”
Many were surprised that it took until nearly three weeks after the shooting for Hillary Clinton to make a statement. As the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for 2016, many saw it as Clinton’s place to make her feelings known on the issue. The Rev. Al Sharpton even called out Clinton for her lack of a stance on the issue.
“This is now a national, central issue, and anyone running for president needs to come up with a formula, or, in my opinion, they forfeit their right to be taken seriously,” he said. “I’m amazed that we’re not hearing from leading candidates… Chris Christie or Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. I land in New York this morning, and I see Chris Christie dancing with Jamie Foxx.”
But Hillary Clinton could be choosing her statements on Ferguson very carefully, some pundits believe. Recent polls have shown her with commanding leads over potential Republican candidates, a position she may not want to risk with potentially controversial statements.