NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Hillary Clinton called the mother of Walter Scott, who was killed by police here in April, to express her condolences Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Clinton called his death a “terrible tragedy” at a meeting with rural leaders in Orangeburg, just ahead of forum here in the city where Scott was killed in April. She also called and spoke with Scott’s family during her trip, campaign officials told msnbc.
“I think the terrible tragedy in Charleston, which lead to an indictment, was a result of not seeing the facts of having information,” Clinton said in response to a question on policing from Holly Hill Mayor William Johnson, according to a pool report. She also called Scott’s family, her campaign confirmed to NBC News.
Clinton spoke to a capacity crowd of 300 at the Santee Conference Center with mayors, city officials, school board members and others about issues facing rural communities, according to her campaign.
Clinton applauded the governor and the legislature in South Carolina for passing police body camera legislation. She called body cameras for police a “good first step,” but said more is needed to address racial inequities in law enforcement.
“There is a lot more we have to do on training and recruitment and community policing and more interaction with the community,” she said, adding that President Obama’s so-called 21st Century policing proposal is a good foundation.
She did not mention Scott during her main event later in the day in North Charleston. But she did call Scott’s mother, according to a lawyer for the family and Clinton’s campaign.
“Hillary expressed condolences to Mrs. Scott and acknowledged how difficult the situation must be, especially for a mother to lose a child in such a fashion,” Justin Bamberg, who is also a member of the state House of Representatives, told msnbc. “Mrs. Scott was really appreciative of Hillary taking the time to reach out and speak with her.”
Judy Scott had originally planed to meet Clinton in person, but was feeling under the weather, her lawyer said. Clinton told Scott she would try to meet with her on a subsequent trip to the South Carolina. “They were very very happy that Hillary even took the time to just talk with her. Hillary was the first presidential candidate to reach out,” Bamberg added.
Clinton also told Scott she would work hard as president to try to prevent what happened to Scott from happening to anyone else. CNN first reported the call.
Scott was killed April 4 in North Charleston, just two miles from where Clinton is speaking on a proposal to address youth unemployment at a technical college Wednesday. Scott was shot in the back by a police officer as he fled, a scene that was caught on camera and sparked national outrage. Ten days ago, a grand jury indicted officer Michael Slager on a charge on murder charges.
Clinton used the first major policy speech of her second presidential campaign to call for major reforms to the criminal justice system, including ending mass incarceration.
This story has been updated with information on Clinton’s call to Scott.