Hillary Clinton sat down with Black Lives Matter activists Friday for a policy-centered discussion of criminal justice in the African American community.
According to an aide to the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic frontrunner, the discussion centered on the roles of police in communities, allocation of police resources in areas that need them the most, and "violence against transgender Americans."
"We had a tough conversation about de-centering the police as the key mechanism to ensuring safety in communities. And we also had a spirited conversation about alternatives to policing," Deray McKesson, one of the leaders of the Campaign Zero, a group aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, told POLITICO.
The meeting, at the National Council of Negro Women in Washington D.C., comes as Clinton plans to roll out more of her criminal justice reform platform in the next few weeks, according to the Clinton aide with knowledge of what was discussed at the meeting.
Aides to the Clinton campaign refused to give a full list but two other activists at the meeting were Brittany Packnett and Johnetta "Netta" Elzie, both of whom tweeted their impressions about the meeting.
We just finished the meeting w/ @HillaryClinton re: #CampaignZero, race, & criminal justice. pic.twitter.com/22ma5p4kJF
— deray mckesson (@deray) October 9, 2015
In August, Clinton was confronted by Black Lives Matter activists who sought to disrupt an event in New Hampshire. After that event, Clinton met with them privately. McKesson said that, at Friday's meeting, it was easier to press Clinton on certain points.
"Sometimes her language does not match her intent. In this setting -- we were with her for 90 minutes. So if she said something and we wanted more clarity we had the time to do that. But I think in general I think she can just be clearer and more plainly talk about issues related to black people and black people than she has done for the duration of the campaign," McKesson said.
"She reaffirmed her policy on private prisons and immigrant detention centers -- she wants to end those," the Clinton aide said. "They talked about a lot of different things. I would say the conversation was very candid."
"In the end I felt heard. I think that she listened," McKesson said. "I left even more interested in the contents of the to-be released platform."
Both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, also a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, have highlighted their criminal justice reform platforms in response to disruptions by Black Lives Matter-affiliated protesters at their respective events. Sanders seemed to up the ante once again Friday night a few hours after Clinton's meeting.
"We want police departments that look like the communities they are serving," Sanders tweeted.