Police shootings take political stage
Clinton raps ‘unbearable’ news; ‘troubled’ Trump hails friskings
CLEVELAND — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton decried a fresh round of police-involved shootings, with the Republican nominee saying he was “very troubled” by the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Oklahoma.
Courting black voters who have long spurned Republicans, Trump’s event Wednesday in Cleveland Heights’ New Spirit Revival Center took a bizarre turn when he was introduced by boxing promoter Don King, who used a racial slur as he made the case for black voters to support Trump.
Trump’s latest foray into the black community not only sought to connect with voters in Cleveland, home to a large community of African-American voters key to Clinton’s prospects in Ohio, but also with moderate suburban voters, who frequently hear Clinton describe Trump as extreme.
King, introducing Trump, raised eyebrows when he said a black man is always framed by his skin color, recalling that he once told pop icon Michael Jackson “if you’re poor, you’re a ‘poor Negro.’ If you’re rich, you’re a ‘rich Negro.’ ” An educated black man is “an intellectual Negro.”
King continued: “If you’re a dancing and sliding and gliding n----- — I mean Negro — you are ‘a dancing and sliding and gliding Negro.’ ”
Gasps and laughs could be heard from the audience.
The King incident underscored the often clumsy way in which Trump has made his appeal to minority voters. Many black community leaders and voters have been offended by his dire depiction of life in minority communities. Trump’s outreach has also been viewed cynically as an attempt by his campaign to soothe concerns among more moderate, suburban voters.
At the end of the Ohio church event organized by members of his diversity coalition, Trump was asked about recent high-profile police shootings in Oklahoma and North Carolina.
Trump said Terence Crutcher, 40, who was killed in Friday’s Tulsa, Okla., shooting, “looked like he did everything you’re supposed to do. And he looked like a really good man.”
“This young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking,” he said.
But hours later he called for the expanded use of stop-and-frisk, a police tactic that a federal judge has ruled can be discriminatory against minorities. Trump said during a Fox News town hall taping that the tactic that gives police the ability to stop and search anyone they deem suspicious had “worked incredibly well” in New York, where it expanded under former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Clinton made no direct mention of Trump in a speech Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.
She pointed to the Oklahoma and North Carolina shootings at the start of her remarks, saying it added two more names “to a long list of African-Americans killed by police officers. It’s unbearable and it needs to become intolerable.”
Clinton has made curbing gun violence and police brutality a central part of her candidacy. She has cam- paigned alongside a group of black women called the “Mothers of the Movement,” who advocated for more accountability and transparency by law enforcement. The group includes the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, all victims of high-profile killings.
Clinton pledged to provide more job opportunities to people with disabilities and get rid of the subminimum wage for people with disabilities.
While she steered clear of Trump— with the exception of her campaign mantra, “Love trumps hate,” — the topic was an implicit poke at Trump’s much-publicized mocking of a journalist with a physical disability last year.
Boxing promoter Don King’s use of a racial slur in introducing Donald Trump raised brows.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton meets and greets backers at a campaign stop Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.