Bernie: Police Departments Shouldn’t Look ‘Like Invading Armies’

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AFP/Mandel NGAN

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) took a swipe at law enforcement during a campaign stop in Spartanburg, S.C., on Thursday, where about 250 people showed up to hear him speak.

“We’re talking about creating police departments all over this country whose membership reflect the demographics of the community and do not look like invading armies,” Sanders said. “Use of lethal force should always be the last option, not the first.”

“Sanders also said more training is needed for law enforcement’s ability to handle mental illness situations,” Greenville News reported. “He said racial bias also exists in law enforcement as it relates to traffic stops, arrests, and said agencies should represent the demographics of the communities they serve.”

Criminal justice reform and education were on Sanders’ agenda. He said:

A nation and a community, which provides quality education for its children that makes certain there are good jobs available to those young people when they leave school is a nation and a community which will have a lower rate of crime where residents will be safer, where human lives are not destroyed because people are rotting away their lives in prisons. At the same time is a nation and community which will save enormous sums of money by avoiding mass incarceration.

Sanders also repeated his support for the law in his state that allows incarcerated people to vote.

“Even people who are in jail have the right to vote,” Sanders said.

The Sanders campaign also announced some endorsements while in the Palmetto state, the Hill reported.

“The endorsements came from seven black state representatives and were announced ahead of Sanders’s speech to the state’s Legislative Black Caucus later on Thursday,” the Hill reported. “He was also endorsed by South Carolina AFL-CIO President Emeritus Donna DeWitt.

“We’re proud to have the endorsement of some of South Carolina’s most distinguished elected officials, labor, and faith leaders,” Sanders’s South Carolina state director Kwadjo Campbell said in the Hill report. “With their support and the support of thousands of volunteers across the state, our campaign is building a grassroots movement that will fundamentally transform this country.”

The town hall was hosted by the Legislative Black Caucus, according to Greenville News.

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