Manchester, NH (CNN)The lawyer for Walter Scott, the black man who was shot and killed by a South Carolina police officer last year, is changing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, his campaign announced Monday.
Walter Scott lawyer flips from Clinton to Sanders
Justin T. Bamberg, a South Carolina state lawmaker and lawyer for the Scott family, is withdrawing his support from Clinton. The switch was first reported by The New York Times.
"The question to ask is not what Secretary Clinton did to lose it, but what Sen. Sanders did to gain it," Bamberg said on a conference call. "I must acknowledge that from the beginning I, as is the case for many Americans, did not give Sen Sanders as a candidate his fair share (of attention.)"
The endorsement comes at a critical moment for Sanders, as he looks to cut into Clinton's strong support from among black voters in South Carolina.
"Bernie represents bold new leadership and is not afraid to challenge the status quo or the traditional way of thinking," Bamberg said. "Speaking from personal experience. Such an approach does not come without inherent risks. People will say that our objectives are unachievable, that they are impossible."
The Clinton campaign has described South Carolina as part of its southern "firewall" should she lose both Iowa and New Hampshire.
Clinton called the Scott family last June to extend her condolences and has also met privately with other families of black men and children who were shot and killed. Clinton was endorsed earlier this month by the mother of Trayvon Martin.
But the Sanders campaign has had some success poaching Clinton supporters — former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner has become one of the most vociferous supporters of Sanders since breaking away from Clinton in November.
Following a tour with Sanders of the Freddie Gray arrest cite in Baltimore, she told black clergy that the Democratic Party had treated the black community as its "mistress" for too long.