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Protester confronts Clinton, demands apology for mass incarceration

The heated exchange spawned the hashtag #WhichHillary, accusing Clinton of flip-flopping on issues of racial justice.

By Ann Marie Awad
Protester confronts Clinton, demands apology for mass incarceration
Ashley Williams crashed a private fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, holding up a sign that quoted remarks Clinton made in the '90s as First Lady. Source: YouTube

CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A Black Lives Matter protester interrupted a private fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, demanding she apologize for remarks she made as First Lady regarding "super predators."

Ashley Williams held up a sign as Clinton spoke at a home Wednesday in Charleston, S.C. The sign read "we have to bring them to heel," taken from remarks Clinton made in New Hampshire in 1996 during her husband's re-election campaign. At the time, Clinton was discussing her husband's 1994 crime bill, which cracked down on gang members.

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The full quote, according to a C-SPAN video: "We need to take these people on. They are often connected to big drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called 'super-predators.' No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why then ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel."

Clinton paused her speech to read Williams' sign.

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"Will you apologize to black people for mass incarceration?" Williams quickly asked Clinton. "I'm not a super predator, Hillary Clinton."

"Well, can I talk? And then maybe you can listen to what I say," Clinton responded.

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"You owe black people an apology -- explain it to us," Williams interrupted.

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"Nobody's ever asked me before. You're the first person to ask me. And I'm happy to address it," Clinton replied.

The mostly white crowd began to boo and hiss, and ultimately, Williams told The Huffington Post that Secret Service threw her out.

"Hillary Clinton has a pattern of throwing the Black community under the bus when it serves her politically," Williams said in a statement earlier Wednesday. "She called our boys 'super-predators' in '96, then she race-baited when running against Obama in '08, now she's a lifelong civil rights activist. I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from '96, '08, or the new Hillary?"

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The testy exchange, captured in a YouTube video, spawned the hashtag #WhichHillary.

On Thursday, Clinton told The Washington Post: "Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today."

The statement continued: "My life's work has been about lifting up children and young people who've been let down by the system or by society, kids who never got the chance they deserved. And unfortunately today, there are way too many of those kids, especially in African-American communities. We haven't done right by them. We need to. We need to end the school to prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline"

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