Former President Bill Clinton on Friday described Black Lives Matters protestors who interrupted his speech the prior day at a rally for his wife’s presidential bid as angry activists who "started screaming" at him.
Speaking at a campaign event in Erie, Pennsylvania, Clinton told a crowd of supporters that yesterday "two women in the crowd got up and started screaming that they were angry about the crime bill I signed and that I was responsible for mass incarceration."
The protest occurred Thursday in Philadelphia where protestors held up signs and were shouting at Clinton while he was stumping for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The activists appeared to be upset at Clinton’s signing of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, better known as the Crime Bill, in 1994.
The former president did not back down and yelled right back at the protestors.
"I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent em out onto the street to murder other African-American children, maybe you thought they were good citizens, she didn’t. She didn’t. You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth," Clinton said.
On Friday, Clinton touted his wife as "the first candidate to say there are too many young people in prison for too long for nonviolent offenses, and we need to let them out. She was the first person in the campaign to say that."
"But what the women were referring to was the crime bill I signed that now-Vice President [Joe] Biden sponsored," he added.
Clinton then made an effort to reach out to the Black Lives Matters’ activists concerns.
"It is true [the Crime Bill] had longer sentences provisions. It is true that they led to some people going to jail for too long in ways that cannot be justified. And I went to the NAACP convention last year and said that and said it was way past time to change."
The Black Lives Matters movement has gone after the Clintons on the campaign trail in previous instances for their support of the Crime Bill.