Policy Prescriptions: Trump and Clinton on race and policing

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton has a detailed plan on how to stop police brutality, especially when it comes to the killing of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Donald Trump hasn’t said much about the issue, other than that he’s the “law-and-order” candidate and police officers are “the most mistreated people in the country.”

The rival presidential candidates have devoted vastly different amounts of time and attention during the campaign to the issue of race and policing. It’s an issue that vaulted into national prominence after the videotaped deaths of several African-American men in encounters with police, some of whom were unarmed and whose deaths set off protests and in some cases unrest in their communities.

Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has proposed several programs and methods to try to improve the system.

“There needs to be a concentrated effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system,” Clinton said in January. “And that requires a very clear agenda for retraining officers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief.”

Trump, the Republican candidate, has offered few concrete suggestions that would change policing in the United States or improve relations between communities of color and law enforcement.

But he has gotten the endorsement of the national Fraternal Order of Police and has personally endorsed a former New York City police policy called “stop and frisk,” even though a federal judge ruled that the procedure violated the rights of minorities.

“Some horrible mistakes were made. But at the same time, we have to give power back to the police because we have to have law and order,” Trump said last year when asked about the relationship between African-Americans and the police. “And you’re always going to have bad apples. But you can’t let that stop the fact that the police have to regain control of this tremendous crime wave that’s hitting the U.S.”

While Trump has been criticized for not offering many concrete ideas about race, Clinton has been criticized for some of the positions she took in the past. She once, for example, supported “superpredator” laws that were meant to combat a supposed wave of lawless children. She has since expressed regret about her choice of words.

Here is a summary of their proposals:

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POLICING

CLINTON: Clinton has spoken repeatedly about the need to change policing in the United States and has devoted a major part of her campaign platform to the issue.

Her suggestions for ways to improve policing include coming up with national standards for police for use of force, allocating $1 billion from her first budget for police training, supporting legislation that would fight racial profiling, providing federal matching funds for body cameras for police, limiting the use of military weapons by local police forces and collecting and reporting national data on police shootings, deaths in custody and crime around the country.

She has also offered support for police officers, many of whom, she says, serve with courage, honor and skill.

“I know I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know anyone who does,” Clinton said at a rally in Orlando, Florida, after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. “This, though, is certain. Too many people have lost their lives who shouldn’t have.”

TRUMP: Trump has made few campaign promises about policing other than to say that he supports the police and would support the return of “stop-and- frisk.”

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STOP AND FRISK

TRUMP: Trump has advocated the return of the controversial program used in New York City. Under the program, officers can stop and search anyone they deem suspicious. “Stop and frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City, tremendous beyond belief,” Trump said at the first presidential debate.

In 2013, a federal judge ruled stop-and-frisk violated the rights of minorities and its implementation in New York was unconstitutional because police were making stops because of race and not because they had a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

CLINTON: Clinton has opposed the return of stop-and-frisk. “Stop and frisk was found unconstitutional in part because it was ineffective,” she said at the first presidential debate.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER

TRUMP: The Republican has not shown much enthusiasm for the Black Lives Matter movement, agreeing that some people think it is “inherently racist.” He has criticized the movement for what he described as its incitement of violence against police in places like Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“And it’s a very divisive term because all lives matter,” Trump said. “It’s a very, very divisive term.”

CLINTON: Clinton also has had a rocky relationship with the Black Lives Matter movement, having had one of her events in South Carolina interrupted by a Black Lives Matter activist who confronted her on her superpredator comments.

Clinton was also criticized last year over her use of the phrase “all lives matter” while speaking to a black church in Missouri.

Some see that phrase as a pushback against the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement.

But Clinton has tried to get Black Lives Matters activists and supporters on her side, meeting with them before a campaign event during the Democratic primary, and saying the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in several of her campaign speeches. She also has talked about some of the issues that activists have been pushing, including implicit biases and systematic racism in the United States.