Bernie Sanders just won another victory against Hillary Clinton in his campaign to win over black voters and lock down the Democratic presidential nomination. The lawyer for the family of Walter L. Scott, who was fatally shot by a police officer in South Carolina in April, announced Monday he would withdraw his support from Clinton and instead endorse Sanders, the New York Times reported.
State Rep. Justin T. Bamberg said Clinton embodies establishment politics, while Sanders would fight to defend people across the South and the country. Bamberg said he has spoken with other South Carolina lawmakers about campaigning for Sanders.
“Hillary Clinton is more a representation of the status quo when I think about politics or about what it means to be a Democrat,” said Bamberg, who endorsed Clinton in December. “Bernie Sanders on the other hand is bold. He doesn’t think like everyone else. He is not afraid to call things as they are.”
Bamberg said he decided to switch sides after he spoke with Sanders for 20 minutes last week on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday about Scott's death. Police officer Michael T. Slager fatally shot Scott, 50, in North Charleston last year. Video of the shooting went viral and Slager was later indicted on a murder charge.
“I don’t think I gave Senator Sanders his fair shake,” Bamberg said of his earlier Clinton endorsement. “What I got from him was a man talking to a man about things that they are passionate about, and that was the tipping point for me.”
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond for comment, while the Sanders campaign celebrated the endorsement. Sanders has worked hard in recent months to win over black voters, especially in South Carolina, where Clinton is popular. “The Clinton campaign talks about having this firewall” in the South, Symone Sanders, a spokeswoman for Sanders’ campaign, told the New York Times. “You are starting to see cracks in that firewall.”
In December, Bamberg wrote that Clinton was a champion for justice for the many unarmed black men and women who have been killed during interactions with law enforcement officials in recent years. "Hillary Clinton has a long history of fighting for justice issues. She’ll fight every day to fundamentally change the way we approach punishment, recidivism and the school-to-prison pipeline," he wrote in an opinion article for Medium. "She will work to end racial profiling, increase transparency in law enforcement and end mass incarceration that puts African-Americans behind bars disproportionately. She’ll work to build on President Obama’s agenda to address persistent intergenerational poverty."