Protesters who were initially barred from entering a Hillary Clinton campaign event in New Hampshire later met privately with the candidate out of the eye of the media. The event, according to Secret Service agents and the Clinton campaign, had reached capacity, forcing the protesters to watch from the overflow room.
One of the protesters had been quoted in the New Republic saying they were going to confront the former secretary of state about her past policy positions, including what they called "Draconian penalties for drug possession and abuse" and "hypermilitarization of urban police forces." The protesters, according to tweets, were the ones to ask that the media not be included at the event.
Clinton is meeting w Black Lives Matters protestors in overflow room. Reporters not allowed in at request of the protestors, per campaign
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) August 11, 2015
#BlackLivesMatter leaked that they were going to interrupt Clinton. Ended up in overflow room grp but, campaign says, didn't want press in.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) August 11, 2015
#BLM activists said they "didn't want others recording [what] they said in conversation with Clinton, per campaign. (2/3)
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) August 11, 2015
Clinton has sought to distance herself from some of the policies of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who himself apologized earlier this year for approving laws that have resulted in mass incarcerations, predominantly of black Americans. Clinton has also looked to distance herself from her competition on issues of racial injustice, avoiding the embarrassment seen on the campaign trail for former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The political maneuvering by candidates in the field is the result of more than a year of increasing tensions and national debate over the role of police in communities, the uneven incarceration of black citizens and the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers. The movement has, at points, reached a fever pitch in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, both of which were the sites of riots in the last year.
For Clinton, her ability to mobilize and convince black voters she's worth their vote could be incredibly important in 2016. In 2008, Clinton notably lost black voters to then-Sen. Barack Obama -- a loss that is said to have contributed significantly to her defeat in the South Carolina primary. Obama was able to put together a coalition of voters, including black voters, that Clinton is widely expected to look to to carry her into the White House.