Hillary Clinton: Charlotte 'community is in pain' over Keith Lamont Scott shooting

Clinton called for more police training in an effort to restore trust along with legislation to end what she called “the gun epidemic”

By Tim Funk and Steve Harrison
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a surprise visit Sunday morning, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told the congregation of Charlotte’s Little Rock AME Zion Church that the “community is in pain” over the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

Clinton had planned to be in Charlotte a week ago, but postponed her visit after Mayor Jennifer Roberts asked that she delay the trip in the aftermath of the Scott police shooting on Sept. 20.

While Sunday’s visit to Charlotte had been planned, the campaign did not announce her schedule or the visit to Little Rock AME Zion in advance. Pastor Dwayne Walker told his congregation they had a “special guest” who would speak to them shortly before Clinton spoke.

Clinton addressed the Scott shooting and the protests quickly. “This family and community is in pain,” she said.

Clinton said police need to be trained to deescalate situations that can lead to police shootings.

“We need to dismantle the so-called school-to-prison pipeline and instead invest in early education...through higher education,” she said.

She criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s repeated call for law and order.

“We can have both,” she said. “This isn’t an either or question.”

Clinton also called Zionna Oliphant to the front. Zionna is a fourth-grader who spoke about the Scott shooting at last week’s City Council meeting. She put her arm around the girl as she spoke.

“Protecting all of God’s children is our calling,” she said.

Faith leaders invited Clinton to Charlotte to hear from community members and families, according to her campaign. Little Rock AME Zion Church is an historically black congregation in Charlotte known as a place for serious discussion about race, civil rights and society.

This isn’t Clinton’s first time addressing Scott’s shooting.

The day after his death, Clinton tweeted her support for the victim as well as for law enforcement officers.

“We have two names to add to a long list of African-Americans killed by police officers,” she tweeted. “It’s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable.”

Two days later, she urged the city of Charlotte to publicly release police video from the Scott shooting.

In a tweet, Clinton wrote: “Charlotte should release police video of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting without delay. We must ensure justice & work to bridge divides.”

And at last Monday’s debate, in response to a question about the Charlotte and Tulsa shootings, she called for more police training in an effort to restore trust along with legislation to end what she called “the gun epidemic.”

Following the Little Rock AME Zion service, Clinton is scheduled to meet with young African-American men “to discuss the urgency of addressing racial, economic and social justice issues,” according to a campaign aide.

Clinton’s most recent to Charlotte was last month, when she spoke at a rally at Johnson C. Smith University.

Clinton, who campaigned in Raleigh on Tuesday, and Trump are locked in a tight race in North Carolina. RealClear Poltics’ average of polls has Trump at 44 percent and Clinton at 43.7 percent.

A poll released Thursday by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling has Clinton at 44 percent and Trump at 42 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 7 percent. The poll also found 53 percent of those surveyed thought Clinton won Monday’s debate, while 31 percent gave the edge to Trump.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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