When Black Lives Matter activist Ashley Williams confronted Hillary Clinton on her record on race and crime at a private fundraiser in Charleston, SC, on Wednesday, Williams wanted one thing in particular from the presidential contender: an explanation why two decades ago, she referred to some at-risk youth as "superpredators" and said "we have to bring them to heel." During the tense moment, Clinton responded, "You know what? Nobody's ever asked me before," adding that "I'm happy to address it." Williams was escorted out before that happened, however. Now Clinton is taking the opportunity to respond—and she has more than a few regrets for ever uttering those "superpredator" remarks. "Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today," she told Jonathan Capehart, writing for the Washington Post.
In the 1996 speech at New Hampshire's Keene State College, where she spoke about the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, Clinton said, "They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called 'superpredators.' No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel." Capehart writes that the comments referenced "a narrow band of young people," and he thinks that critics now accusing Clinton of suggesting that most or all black youth fell into that category are being unfair. He also notes that Bernie Sanders voted to pass that crime bill, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton. Adds candidate Clinton: "I was talking about the impact violent crime and vicious drug cartels were having on communities across the country and the particular danger they posed to children and families."