The Best Quotes From Hillary Clinton's Baltimore & Police Policy Speech You Should Absolutely Read

When you're a presidential candidate, no topic of the moment is off-limits. Democratic contender (and presumptive frontrunner) Hillary Clinton embraced that mindset Wednesday morning, in a speech at the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University, and the results were pretty stirring — so why not take a look at the most powerful quotes from Hillary Clinton's speech on Baltimore and policy, and see what all the fuss is about?

Of course, everybody kind of knows the headlining, issue du jour right now — the state of minority policing and protest in America, as illustrated by the scenes in Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson, Missouri that have played out over the last several months. The last two nights in particular have been pretty tragic, with a largely peaceful protest in Baltimore Monday giving way to a night of fire-starting and theft, and a sympathetic demonstration in Ferguson Tuesday night concluding with two civilians shot.

The instigating issue for all this tumult, of course, is the longstanding history of racial bias in policing — and the considerable legal deference police officers are often given in use of force cases — that afflicts countless minority communities, in cities both big and small. Speaking before the assembled crowd at Columbia, Clinton addressed the situation, offering a glimpse of how her campaign will be talking about race and justice.

It Should Tear At Our Soul

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Clinton's speech had a considerable amount of moral force, expressing the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement as a nearly spiritual stain on American life. And, with apparent emotion, she ran down a list (a brisk summarization, sad to say) of the victims of recent, high-profile police killings.

Some Hard Truths

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Clinton followed up her reflection on the deaths of Scott, Rice, Garner and Gray by laying down a challenge to the American public. Basically, we need to do better, pay more attention, grapple more seriously with our tortured legacy on race, both past and present.

Respect For The Law, And By The Law

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Throughout her speech, Clinton weaved skillfully between acknowledging the perils of policing and the necessity of the law, while still making it clear that law enforcement has some things to answer to.

Body Cameras Are Common Sense

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Perhaps the most important part of the speech, however — of any political speech, really — was getting some details about specific policy prescriptions that a President Hillary Clinton might endorse. For example: police body cameras, and doing away with the heavy militarization that's washed over state and local police departments in the years following 9/11.

Simply put, this was probably the most substantive and important speech of her early presidential campaign, and it's worth watching all the way through. So if you've got the time, take a look at the video below (Clinton's remarks begin around the one-hour mark).

Columbia on YouTube

Image: C-SPAN