Secret Service agents on Tuesday kept five people in #BlackLivesMatter T-shirts from entering a Hillary Clinton event in New Hampshire, but the candidate later met with them in an overflow room set up near the event.
The Secret Service had closed the doors to the event, a forum focused on combating substance abuse, in Keene after it reached capacity, a Clinton spokesperson and a Secret Service agent told CNN.
One of the five kept outside the event was Daunasia Yancey, the organizer from the Boston chapter of #BlackLivesMatter. The New Republic had quoted her earlier Tuesday saying the group planned to disrupt Clinton’s event with questions about her previous support for “draconian penalties for drug possession and abuse” and the “hyper-militarization of urban police forces.”
An overflow room was set up at Clinton’s Keene event, where the protesters watched the event via a live stream. After the forum, Clinton headed over to the room to meet with them, said Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign.
In a criminal justice speech earlier in her campaign, Clinton had called for punishments outside of prison for non-violent drug crimes and for police officers to wear body cameras. It’s a reversal from the 1990s criminal sentencing reforms that her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, had signed into law, which increased mass incarceration.
Protesters from #BlackLivesMatter groups have disrupted Democratic candidates’ events before.
At last month’s Netroots Nation in Phoenix, both former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were interrupted. Since those protests, Clinton has gone to great lengths to say repeatedly that “black lives matter,” and she has also made race and police reform a key part of her campaign.
Since last month’s protests, O’Malley and Sanders have also tried to address race issues. O’Malley put out a criminal justice reform package earlier this month.
Then, over the weekend, Sanders ceded a stage in Seattle to protesters to make their points at the microphone, but eventually left the stage and called off his event when those protesters didn’t relinquish the podium.
After Saturday’s protests, the Sanders campaign added a “Racial Justice” tab to their campaign issues page.
“We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic,” the website reads.