During a Sunday night town hall at Ohio State University, jointly hosted by TV One and CNN, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were forced to get real about criminal justice reform and ongoing police violence.
Facing tough questions from the audience, the two Democratic presidential candidates gave measured but hopeful responses to issues disproportionately affecting Black Americans. When asked by Terina Allen, the sister of Sam Dubose — a Black man fatally shot by former University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing during a traffic stop last year — about police accountability, Sanders insisted that institutional racism and police reform would be priority if he were to become president.
“It’s been my experience, unfortunately, that police officers do lie. They do kill unjustly. They do falsify police reports,” Allen said. “As president what would you do to create a zero tolerance policy toward unjust police killings and help to create a system of accountability that is greater than what we have right now?”
“Any police officer who breaks the law must be held accountable,” Sanders said. “If elected President of the United States, my Department of Justice will investigate every killing of an American held in police custody or killed while being apprehended, an automatic department of justice investigation.”
Sanders also offered his condolences to Allen, who said her brother would have turned 44 on Saturday.
“Systemic racism is at work in our criminal justice system. We’ve got to stand up and end these inequities,” she said.
Sunday’s town hall comes ahead of Tuesday’s pivotal primary races in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio.
You can find a full recap of the event, here.