Next, Rachel asked Secretary Clinton about her position on the Death Penalty in light of the fact that Justice Antonin Scalia has expressed that the United States Supreme Court could reasonably strike down the Death Penalty as unconstitutional. Secretary Clinton seems to be saying that she wouldn’t mind striking down the Death Penalty on the State level as they are not applying it with procedural uniformity; however, it should be reserved for those convicted of terroristic acts and more legal wrangling needs to be had on the issue of whether the Death Penalty should be utilized to punish racially motivated crimes.
Without missing a beat Rachel threw in the Boston Marathon bombing into the dialogue where Secretary Clinton took full advantage by stimulating the dialogue with: “Boston Marathon. You know, right now Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, is going through the judicial process. We had Timothy McVeigh, who put a bomb at the federal building in Oklahoma City. So there are some really heinous crimes that are, in my view, still arguably ones that should potentially have the death penalty.” Rachel continued the race motivation question by adding: “The Charleston massacre that happened in South Carolina? Racially motivated killing of those churchgoers?” And Secretary Clinton kept providing insight into her prudence and reasonableness where she answered: “Racially motivated. And I think that’s the kind of case that would cause people to have a legitimate discussion about whether or not it’s appropriate. But there have been too many cases put into the capital offense category than what I think is merited.”
Rachel followed-up by asking Secretary Clinton about the incident in South Carolina at the Spring Valley High School where a 16 year old student was forcefully pulled from a chair and thrown across the classroom by deputy sheriff Ben Fields. Rachel asked if Secretary Clinton believed that officers should be in schools. Having given this question much thought, Secretary Clinton stated: “Well, the first thing I would say is that what happened in the school here in South Carolina was just appalling to me. Adults should be trained to use non-violent, non-confrontational measures in dealing with kids . . . if we have problems, discipline problems, whatever they might be. And . . . and I think that we have a — we have a lot of work to do to try to once again understand what is the best way to deal with a — let’s — let’s pick, say, with the school examples — to deal with kids who bring their problems to school, because a lot of kids have a lot of problems in our society right now. In fact, as I recall the facts of that case, I think the young woman was in foster care. And so we’re not doing enough to support every child. You know, some kids don’t need a lot of support. They go to school . . . they go home, they’re fine.”
Secretary Clinton’s response to the above question resonates with most Americans because it punishes an officer’s unreasonable use of excessive force against a non-violent child. America is not the barbaric country that some envision. An excessive use of force is a prohibited wrong of constitutional dimension. Therefore, an officer who has either been convicted or settled an excessive force claim must be met with disciplinary action for engaging in the unconstitutional conduct. Not every use of force is considered excessive in the constitutional sense. Therefore, where excessive force is found it cannot be said that the officer was acting in the performance of his duties as the constitutional violation per se places the officer outside the contours of his public function. Without legitimacy for the use of excessive force the victim develops a constitutional due process right to self-defense against an officer acting outside the scope of his public duties. In this situation, the officer cannot reasonably be viewed as an official, but as an individual engaged in a run-of-the-mill criminal assault. Law enforcement administrators must be wary of officers who engage in the use of excessive force as being inattentive could potentially lead to municipal liability where an administrator is deliberately being obtuse.
Finally, Secretary Clinton mentions that when it comes to gun violence: “People need to stop and think. I’m not saying it’s never ever required of law enforcement. I would never say that. But it doesn’t need to be the first choice. It doesn’t need to be the only tool that we give our law enforcement officers to deal with difficult situations. And in many of the shootings we’ve seen — the Walter Scott shooting, I mean why, you know? It just — there – it makes no sense why that happened. So, I think that we’ve got to do a better job working with people in positions of authority to deal with run of the mill disciplinary issues, or the problems on the street. I still can’t get over that Eric Garner in Staten Island, in New York, died from a choke hold. He was selling loose cigarettes, that’s all he was doing . . . and — yeah, was it against the law? Yeah, it was against the law, but — I met his mother was one of the people there, and he had kids, he had a family, and OK, so maybe he, you know, shouldn’t have been selling cigarettes, but did he deserve to die because of that? Absolutely not. So, we all need to say, wait a minute. Time out, let’s work on making this fair, reasonable, and peaceful insofar as possible.”
Rachel ended Secretary Clinton’s forum with three different silly questions that she asked of every Presidential candidate. Rachel’s First in the South 2016 Candidates Forum model kept the candidates focused on answering substantive questions. America will be in good hands in 2016!