Hillary Clinton calls for police reform, national use of force standards

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the sniper slayings of Dallas police officers and recent fatal cop shootings of black men. She said white Americans must understand that the concerns of their black and Hispanic neighbors are real. Clinton also called for national police reforms and standards for the use of force.

Read the Full Transcript


    We return to the events in Dallas and the violence involving police across the country this week.

    And we get the perspective of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

    We also invited Donald Trump. He declined, but we hope to talk with him soon.

    I spoke with the Secretary Clinton a short time ago.

    Welcome, Secretary Clinton.

    As I talk to you, we're hearing about still more attacks on the police in this country.

    Why do you think it is, more than 50 years after the height of the civil rights movement, that we're seeing events in this country like what we have witnessed this week?

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presumptive Presidential Nominee: Judy, I wish I could answer that question. I have thought so much about it.

    And I'm not sure of all the reasons why we are witnessing this kind of violence. And we have got to look at it broadly. What happened in Dallas, what's happening to other police officers in our country is absolutely outrageous.

    We have got to do much more to protect and respect the police. And we have to do much more to make sure that citizens in our country, particularly African-Americans, feel respected and protected by the police.

    I think we have got to listen to each other. We need a conversation. White people need to be listening to African-Americans about what it feels like to live with, you know, fear and anxiety, to be profiled, to worry about what will happen to their children when they go out to play or out on a date or go for a drive.

    We have to listen to the fears of our police officers, who get up every day and do a dangerous job, like the police in Dallas who ran toward the shooting when it broke out after a peaceful protest.

    I'm going to do everything I can in this campaign to try to find common ground, bring people together. And I have got some specific ideas about what we can do for criminal justice reform. We need national guidelines about the use of force, particularly lethal force.

    We need to work with the 18,000 police departments in our country, some of whom are real models and others should be learning from about how they de-escalate tension, rather than turning a routine traffic stop into a killing.

    And, of course, we need to investigate the implicit bias that, unfortunately, too many of us still have. And when it's an implicit bias in a police officer, it can lead to an escalating situation.

    So, we have got work to do. Certainly, our elected officials, our leaders in our communities, but really all of us as Americans have a stake in trying to listen respectfully to each other and, you know, really try to find ways we can contribute to ending this violence that is stalking our nation.


    So, are you saying you think you could make more progress on this than an African-American president who has made improving race relations a priority of his administration?


    Well, I think President Obama has done an extraordinary job in trying to explain and provide information to anyone who's willing to listen about the inequities and the difficulties that are being confronted by so many of our fellow Americans.

    His policing commission that he put together after Ferguson, Missouri, has excellent recommendations, but not enough police departments have followed them. And I want to put money in the budget when I'm president to make it possible for every police department to implement these important reforms.

    And I think, too, there has got to be a national conversation. And it can't be just elected officials. We need people in communities talking to each other. You know, during the primary campaign in Kentucky, I had a wonderful experience one Sunday morning going to an African-American church.

    And it just so happened, the day I was there, they were being visited by a white church. So, you had a mixed choir. You had both preachers addressing the congregation. You had people shaking hands and exchanging views and talking about their lives.

    You know, that may sound easy, but it's hard in lots of places in our country. And it needs to happen not just on Sunday. It needs to happen every day.

    And, as a white person, I want to make clear that whites have to listen. We have to recognize, you know, many of the fears and anxieties that our African-American, our Latino and others in our society feel. We saw the terrible shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, our LGBT friends.

    I mean, this cuts across so many of the divides in our country. And it should send a clarion call to every single one of us. We do not want to live like this. We don't want people, any American, living in fear. We don't want our police living in fear.

    And if we want to end that, we're going to have to work together.


    Madam Secretary, we also want to ask you about the FBI report that came out this week.

    We heard the director, James Comey, say they were not going to recommend criminal charges against you, but he said that you and your colleagues at the State Department were, in his words, extremely careless in the handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

    Do you believe you benefited from a double standard, that ordinary government employees experience one sort of treatment and a different one for you?


    No, not at all.

    In fact, I think Director Comey made exactly the opposite point in his long testimony yesterday, that those who somehow hoped that action would be taken are the ones who were hoping for a double standard.

    He made very clear there was no basis for going forward. And he also clarified what he said in his statement.

    You know, with respect to the handling of classified material, I take it very seriously, and the 300 or so people with whom I e-mailed on the course of my time in the State Department do as well. These are experienced diplomats. They have expertise in handling classified material. They were not careless.

    And the material that they sent to me, they didn't believe was classified. The very, very few examples that Director Comey pointed to have also been clarified, as he accounted yesterday. The State Department has said two of the three that he had pointed to were human error. They were not to be classified.

    So, I'm very proud of the work that we did over four years. And I'm very proud of our diplomats and our other professionals, who have to act in real time. They are responding to heads of state, to press inquiries. And they are doing the best they can. I do not believe they were careless. I do not believe that they sent material that they thought was classified, and certainly no finding of anything intentional was made after this investigation.


    Last question, then. Do you think Director Comey erred in calling it — in saying it was extremely careless?

    And I ask that because one of the arguments you make in your comparison with Donald Trump is that you, as a president, would be more competent than he would be in the White House.


    Well, I think there is a lot of evidence to that, based on eight years as a senator handling a lot of classified material, based as four years as a secretary of state, handling classified material, which, in my view, didn't include what was sent on an unclassified system, and certainly was the judgment of the hundreds of people with experience and expertise who dealt with me.

    But, look, I am grateful for the professionalism of the FBI and the Department of Justice. And I repeat that I made a mistake using personal e-mail, and I regret that very much.

    But I think, if one looks at the totality of my public service and the very difficult decisions that I grappled with, from bin Laden to the Iran sanctions and so much more, people can count on me to do the job that is required.


    Secretary Hillary Clinton, we thank you for talking to us on this day.


    Thank you very much, Judy.

Listen to this Segment