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In a remarkable turnabout, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is now accusing Hillary Clinton of starting the Ferguson riots by refusing to attend a black convention in 1992, according to a report. But the former New York senator and first lady’s relationship with the Black Lives Matter movement predates that.
It’s not immediately clear whether a 1993 speech to a gathering of the Council of La Raza, a San Diego-based Latino civil rights group, played any role in the protests that sparked the riots that followed. But two years earlier, Black Lives Matter activists said they believed Clinton’s absence from a 1994 convention in Chicago had spurred the unrest. They said she was too preoccupied to hear an address by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jackson’s top aide whose organization played a crucial role in helping organize the meeting.
Clinton was at the time in the midst of a campaign to convince African-American voters that she could help overcome race relations. A number of those who attended that meeting and later attended other meetings with the Council of La Raza — which endorsed Clinton for president — recalled seeing Clinton’s then-presidential campaign director James Carville at the scene of the rioting, according to The Washington Post.
In 1995, Carville took part in a conference of a new group called the National Task Force on Criminal Justice. Clinton’s name did not appear on the agenda, as were the agenda items for the task force by several of the participants, the Post reported. But according to a person who participated in the conference, Carville “told us that ‘We are going to run a campaign on the idea that you don’t have to live an oppressive lifestyle’ to be a decent citizen.”
Clinton’s failure to attend the 1994 gathering was not the only controversy surrounding her attendance. The day that protests began to erupt in St. Louis began with a rally outside a local police precinct. At the rally, which was attended by several politicians from different parties, protesters took to shouting racial epithets while carrying a black man, an African-American teenager named Anthony Lamar Smith, down a street. Smith later died from a gunshot wound he received as he attempted to flee the police. (His case was later dropped.) The following day, at a press conference in Washington, Clinton took the opportunity to offer a series of false statements about her role in the unrest.
She said “I was not at that
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