Nearly four months have passed since Hillary Clinton was interrupted by protesters while speaking at a campaign rally. But Black Lives Matter protests broke that streak late Wednesday, cutting off the Democratic front-runner mid-speech during a private fundraiser in Charleston, S.C.
Clinton had just began to address approximately 100 guests who contributed to her campaign to attend the event at a private residence. An African-American youth activist later identified as Ashley Williams and others sitting near the stage interrupted Clinton shortly after her speech commenced at 9:30 p.m., holding a poster up for the crowd to see. The sign read a statement Clinton had made in 1996 in reference to at-risk black youth, saying "We have to bring them to heel."
The former secretary of state discontinued her remarks on civil rights when she noticed the sign. Williams then put Clinton on the spot and asked her to apologize to African-Americans for mass incarceration. Clinton did not respond, according to a report, and the audience yelled at Williams to leave.
Secret Service escorted the young woman out of the event, later telling a source she traveled from Charlotte, N.C. to attend the dinner that she and a colleague had donated $500 to attend for the sake of bringing attention to a comment Clinton made as first lady 20 years earlier.
"Hillary Clinton has a pattern of throwing the black community under the bus when it serves her politically," Williams said before the event. "She called our boys 'super-predators' in '96, then she race-baited when running against Obama in '08, now she's a lifelong civil rights activist. I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from '96, '08, or the new Hillary?"
The Clinton campaign has not issued a statement about the incident, which comes three days before the South Carolina primary. A recent CNN poll of African-American voters found Clinton received more than double the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders, 65 percent compared to Sanders' 28 percent. Political pundits have highlighted the importance of securing the support of black voters in the Palmetto State in order to win the Democratic primary Feb. 27.