Clinton on police shootings: 'too many people have lost their lives who shouldn't have'

Story highlights

  • "This, though, is certain: too many people have lost their lives who shouldn't have," Clinton said
  • The deaths of black civilians in confrontations with the police has taken center stage in the election

Orlando (CNN)Hillary Clinton kicked off a campaign event Wednesday by saying that the recent police killings of two African-American men that unleashed a national uproar this week are "unbearable" and "intolerable."

Clinton used those words the day before to describe last week's shooting death of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma, but revisited the issue Wednesday in light of the death of Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina. Her comments -- which came at the beginning of a lengthy speech about improving economic opportunities for disabled Americans -- marked her first on-camera remarks on the shootings, which have again sparked a debate about lethal police force.
    "There is still much we don't know yet about what happened in both incidents. But we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African Americans killed by police officers in these encounters," Clinton said. "It's unbearable. And it needs to become intolerable."
    The Democratic nominee added: "I know I don't have all the answers. I don't know anyone who does. This, though, is certain: too many people have lost their lives who shouldn't have."
    Even as she referred to the deaths as "two very upsetting incidents," Clinton also urged the public against channeling their anger by targeting police officers as she pointed to the protests that unfolded Tuesday night.
    "Every day, police officers across our country are serving with extraordinary courage and honor and skill," she said. "I've spoken to many police chiefs and other law enforcement leaders who are as deeply concerned as I am, and deeply committed, as I am, to reform. Why? Because they know it's essential for the safety of our communities and our officers."
    The racially charged issue of the deaths of black civilians in confrontations with the police has taken center stage multiple times in the 2016 election, and Wednesday was not the first time that the Clinton has commented on the issue.
    This week, Scott -- a father of seven -- was killed by police in a parking lot when police officers were searching for another man to serve a warrant. His family has said that Scott was unarmed and reading a book in his car, but the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police says that Scott came out of the car with a gun.
    In Tulsa, Oklahoma, last week, Crutcher was killed in a confrontation with police officers. Crutcher was unarmed, and videos of the incident shows Crutcher standing next to his car and falling to the ground after an officer shot him. The officer's attorney later said she was afraid Crutcher was trying to reach for a weapon.
    Clinton's Republican opponent, Donald Trump, also reacted to Crutcher's death on Wednesday, saying in Ohio that he was "very troubled" by the fatal shooting.
    "I must tell you, I watched the shooting in particular in Tulsa and that man was hands up, that man went to the car -- hands up -- put his hand on the car. To me, it looked like he did everything you're supposed to do," Trump said. "This young officer, I don't know what she was thinking. I don't know what she was thinking, but I'm very, very troubled by that and we have to be very careful."