Bill Clinton got into a heated exchange with a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who interrupted a speech he was giving on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, during a campaign event in Philadelphia on Thursday.
In a prolonged argument, the former president forcefully defended both his wife’s past statements about the African-American community and a controversial crime bill he passed during his time in the White House.
“I like protesters, but the ones who won't let you answer are afraid of the truth,” the 69-year-old began to the chants of demonstrators, at least one of who held a placard proclaiming “Hillary is a Murderer” while others shouted for Clinton to be charged with “crimes against humanity.”
An agitated Clinton informed the protesters that his 1994 Violent Crime Control and Prevention Act — extensively criticized for sparking a mass incarceration of people of color — helped crack down on gangs who were killing young black children.
“I talked to a lot of African-American groups,” he said, pushing back against the criticism that his actions devastated black communities. “They thought black lives mattered. They said take this bill because our kids are being shot in the street by gangs. We had 13-year-old kids planning their own funerals.”
However, thing got worse when one protester criticized a comment the White House hopeful made as the first lady and yelled, “Black youth are not super predators.”
“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” Clinton angrily shot back. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens… You are defending the people who kill the people whose lives you say matter. Tell the truth. You are defending the people who caused people to go out and take guns.”
Clinton campaign has had number of awkward encounters with Black Lives Matter protesters on campaign trail, though this one definitely took the cake.
Watch the complete exchange in the video below:
Here's how Twitterati reacted to the clash:
Who are the protestors who interrupted @BillClinton?— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 8, 2016
Hats off to you.
Without protestors this would be a completely different campaign.
Bill Clinton was the worst, most destructive, most imperialist, most radically pro-corporate President, besides Reagan, of the 20th Century.— Noah Mann-Engel (@byronNME) April 8, 2016