Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned in Brooklyn Sunday morning, telling congregants at an East New York church that she would fight to reduce gun violence and “increase trust” between police departments and the communities they serve.
“No one should have to face the loss of a beloved,” Clinton told the audience of some 3,000 predominantly African-American churchgoers at the Christian Cultural Center.
The appearance came as Clinton pushes to shore up support against rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont ahead of New York’s April 19 primary.
Clinton, the former secretary of state who also served as New York’s U.S. senator for eight years, leads Sanders 54 percent to 42 percent among statewide voters, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday.
But Sanders, who held a massive rally in the South Bronx that drew a crowd of some 15,000 people on Thursday, has narrowed the polling gap over the past month. A Siena College poll released March 7 had Clinton ahead by 21 points and an Emerson College poll released March 16 had her leading by 48 points.
With just a week before the New York primary, Clinton will headline Suffolk Democrats’ $300-a-head spring dinner on April 11.
Clinton’s Suffolk appearance at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook will be part of a Long Island blitz, in which she will also have an earlier fundraiser for her own campaign hosted by Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs at his Glen Cove day camp.
“She has always considered Long Island important and her appearances here show how critical Nassau and Suffolk are to her campaign,” said Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, adding, “It will energize her supporters for the Democratic primary.”
At the church, Clinton acknowledged an endorsement by Nicole Bell, whose fiancé Sean Bell was shot to death in 2006 by plainclothes police officers on the morning of his wedding day as he left a Queens strip club where he had been celebrating his bachelor party.
Undercover NYPD officers shot into Bell’s car 50 times, wounding two of his friends, saying at the time they believed the men were carrying weapons, when in fact the men were unarmed. The city later paid a $7 million settlement to Bell’s family and his friends.
“I remember as your senator being heartsick about this event,” Clinton told the audience, pledging to end racial profiling among law enforcement agencies and increasing police department trainings so officers could learn to “de-escalate” certain confrontations.
Republican presidential candidates have also ramped up their New York campaign efforts in the past two weeks. Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) is scheduled to appear Monday at Hofstra University and Huntington’s Paramount Theatre. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is slated to hold a rally in Bethpage on Wednesday. Both candidates and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have also said they will attend the state GOP’s annual banquet in Manhattan on April 14.
With Rick Brand