Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized Bill Clinton’s heated exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters, calling his remarks “unacceptable."
"I think that the [former] president owes the American people an apology for trying to defend the indefensible," Sanders said.
Clinton received heavy criticism last week when confronted by protesters at an event in Philadelphia about the impact that his 1994 crime bill have had on Black Americans and defended the record of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is relying on the support of Black voters in her quest for the presidency.
"I had money for inner-city kids, for out-of-school activities. We had 110,000 police officers so we could put people on the street, not in these military vehicles, and so the police could look like the people they were policing," Clinton stated during the event.
However, critics argue that Clinton’s bill also known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act lead to the disproportionate incarceration of Black people thought the creation of new federal crimes, mandated life sentences and the expansion of police and prisons.
Following the incident, Bill Clinton drew criticism online. Some saw him as dismissive of the Black Lives Matter movement, a national outgrowth of anger over a string of encounters in which police officers killed unarmed Black people.
Bill Clinton said the day after the altercation that he "almost wants to apologize" for the incident.
Sanders supported the '94 bill and has said throughout his campaign that parts of it, especially measures to address violence against women and weapons, were too important to vote down.
The Democratic race for the Nov. 8 election has become increasingly heated as Hillary Clinton, stung by a string of losses in state contests, has traded barbs with her rival for the party's nomination, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, over who is better prepared for the White House.