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Sanders Disavows Black Lives Matter Apology

Monday, August 17, 2015

 

Bernie Sanders disavows on apology issued by his campaign to the Black Lives Matter movement this past weekend. The Vermont Senator, who is a Democratic candidate for President, said on Meet the Press that a campaign worker issued the apology and he had no knowledge of it.

Sanders, who was in Portland last week attracted more than 28,000 to his campaign event at the Moda Center. According to Sanders, he has been talking about issues of racial equity and fighting racism for his entire political career.

The Black Lives Matter movement is “#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes." 

Sanders' campaign position on racial justice articulates the following changes:

A growing number of communities do not trust the police and law enforcement officers have become disconnected from the communities they are sworn to protect. Violence and brutality of any kind, particularly at the hands of the police sworn to protect and serve our communities, is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. We need a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter, and racism cannot be accepted in a civilized country.

  • We must demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies.
  • We must invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together. Among other things, that means increasing civilian oversight of police departments.
  • We need police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities.
  • At the federal level we need to establish a new model police training program that reorients the way we do law enforcement in this country. With input from a broad segment of the community including activists and leaders from organizations like Black Lives Matter we will reinvent how we police America.
  • We need to federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to make it easier to hold them accountable.
  • Our Justice Department must aggressively investigate and prosecute police officers who break the law and hold them accountable for their actions.
  • We need to require police departments and states to provide public reports on all police shootings and deaths that take place while in police custody.
  • We need new rules on the allowable use of force. Police officers need to be trained to de-escalate confrontations and to humanely interact with people who have mental illnesses.
  • States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed.
  • We need to make sure the federal resources are there to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups.

 

 

 

Related Slideshow: Bernie Sanders Rallies in Portland

The Bernie Sanders rally at the Moda Center in Portland drew the largest crowd its campaign has seen yet.  Upwards of 28,000 people showed up to the event with many being turned away and watching his speech on a screen in the spillover section.

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Sanders supporter Shelley Withee said that "he stands for everything the people really stand for.”

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Many Sanders enthusiasts who were present at the rally had choice words about Hillary.  “Democrats are forming another branch – a smarter branch. Hillary represents the corporate democrat. I believe in the social democrat and so does my grandma who is 87,” said Brett Bottorff.

Photo credit: Hilary Devaney

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Don't Shoot Portland organizer Teressa Raiford Mazique was arrested yesterday on the anniversary of Michael Brown's death.

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The eager crowd did "the wave" in anticipation of Sanders.

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Union member Dinah Foley spoke in support of Sanders.

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PCUN member Jaime Arredondo spoke on Bernie's commitment to supporting immigrant and farm worker rights.

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Climate justice activist Mia Reback spoke in support of Sanders.

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Spokeswoman Symone Sanders

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Bernie Sanders and wife Jane O'Meara Sanders

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Sanders spoke of a broad range of social justice issues yesterday.

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Addressing the prison industrial complex in America, Sanders said “we have more people in jail than any other country on earth. I want to see this country not have more people in jail, but more people in jobs and education.”

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“That’s what this campaign is about. It’s bringing people together for a political revolution,” said Sanders.

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“We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world –but not many people feel that. We are going to change that,” said Sanders when discussing the disparity in wealth in America.

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Don't Shoot Portland organizers attended the rally on the anniversary of Michael Brown's death.

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“It will make life easier for fourth graders from Portland who will know they will make it to the middle class,” said Sanders.

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After his speech Sanders shook hands and took pictures with supporters.

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