Protestors disrupt Hillary Clinton event over private prison fundraising

Protestors for GetEQUAL, a group advocating for black trans women affiliated with Black Lives Matter, disrupted a Hillary Clinton rally in Cleveland yesterday over her fundraising from the private prison industry. Here are the videos the group posted on their Facebook page:

Following our ask of Hillary Clinton to divest from private prisons during a campaign rally in Cleveland today, we continued to call on her to return and refuse to accept donations from lobbyists and lawyers for private prison companies GEO Group and CCA. There’s no way to have a real conversation about the future until the campaign separates itself from those profiting off of mass incarceration and detention…

Posted by GetEQUAL on Thursday, August 27, 2015

More footage from today’s action at #HillaryinOH #blacktranslivesmatter

Posted by Angela Peoples on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Clinton, is not only accepting money from the private prison industry, but also counts two of its lobbyists as bundlers for her campaign. She has said nice things about criminal justice, but has yet to say whether she would endorse the police reform platform put forward by Campaign Zero, among other reforms. In short, when it comes to criminal justice, she went into her event yesterday with some explaining to do.

And she still does. Rather than addressing the protestors on their terms, Clinton paused mid-sentence to say, “I will certainly be happy to meet with you later, but I’m going to keep talking:”

Which is all well and good, but I don’t think the protestors heard what they wanted and needed to hear.

As the group wrote in a joint press release with Black Lives Matter:

“Bankrolled by private prison companies and lobbyists like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, Hillary Clinton is part of the system of violence that criminalizes and kills Black trans people — how can we take her policy suggestions to curb mass incarceration and detention seriously while she’s accepting this money?” asked Angela Peoples, co-director of grassroots LGBTQ network GetEQUAL and a disruptor of the event.

Great. Question.

Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, screenshot via YouTube

Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, screenshot via YouTube

Every Democratic candidate says that our criminal justice system is broken. They all get that they need to say there’s a problem, because there is one. But if you’re down with private prisons, you aren’t down with criminal justice reform. A lot of issues are more complicated than that; this one isn’t.

The first time Black Lives Matter protestors went to a Hillary Clinton event, they were stopped at the door, and met with the candidate backstage. Rather than answering their questions about her record, she pushed them for a platform.

Which is odd, given that her opponents in the race have criminal justice reform platforms of their own. For his part, Bernie Sanders is set to introduce legislation taking prisons out of the private sector entirely. How close does the race have to get before Clinton moves on this issue? And by then, how ham-handed and transparently fake will such a move be?

Hillary Clinton deserves to be pushed, both for a platform of her own and over where her money is coming from. In both their protest and subsequent press release, GetEQUAL called on Clinton to divest from private prisons, and to reinvest the money she has already raised from them in organizations working to promote equality for members of the black and trans communities.

Until she gives them an answer, expect them to continue to do so.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • luckydoodle77

    Bernie Sanders 2016!

  • Joshua

    Dude, enough with the “snowflake” shit.

  • Joshua

    Though they have a lot to do with the Drug War.

  • Joshua

    All for Sanders, he’s our best hope.

  • Joshua

    She’s the wrong woman for the Job. Wish Elizabeth Warren was running.

  • Joshua

    Let’s not start that nazi bullshit… The GOP are down with keeping Isreal afloat just like the Democrats. Let’s not throw up the sieg heil and get down on Bernie cause of his religion. It’s childish and too many brave Americans fought to stop Hitler from committing genocide and pushing fascism across Europe. Let’s not soil their memory.

  • Joshua

    Dude, we already pay a shit load of taxes. Guess what? Might as well get good healthcare out of it, better drug coverage and protection from big Pharma jacking up prescription costs 4000% overnight. Jeez, wise up, anything is better than the corporate asshats we put up with today. Socialism is not communism and the Netherlands have some pretty happy people there. Wanna keep working against your best interests keep up that “he’s too liberal bullshit.” See where that works towards your best interests. Before you get all holier than thou on me. Remember, that’s what they want… Divide and conquer, it’s what’s keeping the 1% where they are.

  • nkiflemar

    And he will save a ton of money doing the Medicare for all!

  • truth_machine

    You haven’t shown that you get it, and I doubt that you do.

  • Too bad people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their kind are brainwashing the right to vote against their own best interest to support the GOP Profit protectors of the 1%.

    America won’t remain a democracy if the GOP has their way…it will become the personal toy of the richest.

  • I have problems with Hillary over this issue of taking dirty prison money to support her campaign. I really hope Biden/Warren becomes a ticket !

    It is shameful for ANY Democrat to accept money from the mass incarceration business. I expect it from GOP candidates like Rubio who also takes their money.

    “SHAME ON YOU HILLARY CLINTON” ( Do you remember your “Shame on you Barack Obama” line? It is coming back to haunt you.

    http://flcure.org

  • Bill_Perdue

    Neither. Sanders is a liberal Democrat at this point and what you call progressive domestic policy doesn’t work. It’s time for a real change, a socialist change.

  • Higgs Boson

    I don’t disagree with you. With Sanders you get progressive domestic policy and neocon foreign policy; with Clinton you get neoliberal privatization and monetization of everything for domestic policy, and neocon foreign policy.

    Which would you rather have?

  • minkyadu

    Thanks for the reminder…….For the third time, I get it!!!! can we move on…

  • DoverBill
  • DoverBill

    How about basic human dignity vs another corporate buck?

  • DoverBill

    On you or us?

  • GreenLantern

    Sanders is far to liberal for me. He will raise taxes the minute he is in office.

  • GreenLantern

    Bernie is a clueless socialist just like his followers

  • GreenLantern

    Hillary for prison 2016!!!

  • SherrieM

    “Review”?? No, she’s already in bed with the private prison industry….. “Private Prison Lobbyists Are Top Fundraisers for Hillary Clinton” http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/private_prison_lobbyists_are_fundraising_for_hillary_clinton_20150724

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  • xTHATxDAMNxGUYx

    Hillary should be in prison. PERIOD.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I proved what I said, you can’t so you make personal attacks. How very Democratic (sic) of you.

  • Obamarican

    You’re suffering from delusions of grandeur. Bullshit is not fact based. You’ve cherry picked issues and molded them to fit your narrow minded narrative. Take a hike troll. Intellect is not your forte.

  • truth_machine

    Maybe you will learn not to make authoritative statements that directly contradict others when you are completely ignorant about the subject.

    http://bluenationreview.com/judge-sentenced-selling-kids-profit-prison/

  • Bill_Perdue

    He has been consistent – he votes against declarations of war and AUMF and then he consistently votes for war budgets.

  • Bill_Perdue

    My comments are fact based, yourss are just the unsubstantiated opinions of a Democrat. Try giving us some facts to disprove what I said about Biden, BS and HRH HRC.

  • IMJUSTSAYIN

    I yield, I yield

  • Obamarican

    as do yours (sic).

  • The For-Profit Prison Industry is not just threatening to sue states. They have a price on each bunk. If there is a bunk that is empty, the state pays anyway.

    People that don’t think the private prison industry is killing this country need to realize that in not so many years, we went from a country that had 700,000 incarcerated to a country with 2,300,000 incarcerated. Mostly for non-violent crimes, with approx. 10% being actually innocent.

    If that doesn’t grab attention and assure you that Hillary Clinton is the monster in the room by supporting this travesty, I don’t know what will.

    #NoHillary2016

  • Are you even attempting to make an informed comment, because you fail miserably. The For-Profits have EVERYTHING to do with sentence structure. Harsher sentences for lesser crimes, and if you don’t believe that, you are kidding yourself.

  • craig swartz

    Bill, thanks for the links. Yeah, it seems Bernie needs a foreign policy briefer on how to handle the Saudis and the like, and he needs to be consistent with the defense spending.

  • cmbc587

    Sure she will change her mind when she realizes Bernie might run away with the nomination. She will start talking the talk, that’s for sure. Will she walk the walk if elected? Doubtful.

  • capcome

    Hillary is a corporate clone…Bernie is a socialist snowflake. We are in trouble.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not so fast. Sanders is decidedly right wing.

    Sanders votes for war budgets, peddles the F35 and supports the zionist colony in Palestine.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/08/05/bernie-sanders-should-stop-ducking-foreign-policy

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/27/foreign-policy-sanders-style-backing-saudi-intervention/

  • Seth Edwards

    One reason why Bernie Sander’s should become president. He want’s to get rid of private prisons. Make the 1% pay taxes, make healthcare a right and make it free, make collage tuition free or at a extremely low cost. He also want’s to rebuild the middle class and get money out of politics! So far he’s raised 15 million dollar’s in donations at an average of 30$ per donation. He doesn’t put up negative ad’s and want’s to get rid of super packs and make america not buy-able by billionaires and millionaires. I could go on and on but for some reason with all this true-fullness and support you rarely see him on tv. I wonder why oh wait he wants millionaires and billionaires plus many big business to actually pay there taxes instead of putting it in the Cayman islands. There’s so much more he even was with civil rights in the 60s and gay marriage in the 80s. He’s been on the right side of history plus is probably the only politician to want to change this country for the better and not be just establishment politics like many other candidates probably even including Hillary. Please spread the word for him because he’s our only hope at saving this country and staring a political revolution as he call’s it. I could go on and on about how he’s getting 30,000 people at his rallies and is planning to do a march/event on Washington which would involve around 100,000 people in October. Though the news is supposed to do this but there scared of Bernie Sander’s that’s why he’s always called a long shot when in reality he could easily become president. #BernieSanders2016

  • Not very. She/he has been banned.
    (Somehow, I envision a 14-year-old boy in his mother’s basement. In any case, they may go and troll elsewhere.)

  • minkyadu

    I didn’t see where they influence lawmakers in deciding sentence structure . Thanks for the light I stand corrected.

  • truth_machine

    What an idiotic assertion. We just had a judge convicted of selling children to private prisons: http://bluenationreview.com/judge-sentenced-selling-kids-profit-prison/

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  • Always curious

    Hillary Clinton has a net worth of about $21,000,000 if you take the establisnment’s reports of her financial disclosures. What the hell does she know or care about even one regular person? Forget about prisoners, who, of course, are always guilty.

  • Always curious

    Are you still expecting Hillary to change? She is what she is.

  • Always curious

    Senator Bernie Sanders has not taken a dime from them!

  • Always curious

    Really? How would you go about filling the for-profit prison’s contracts for occupancy? You can’t truly believe the systems are sepperate, can you? Think.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Your opinions lack merit.

  • Sure they do. Follow the money. For-profit prison corporations have been approaching state and local governments and saying, “Pass these laws, guarantee us X% occupancy rate, and we’ll build a prison for you.”

    The loudest voices behind those “Three Strikes” laws, the ones that can put a person in jail for life without parole on their third offense even if it’s as minor as shoplifting? The private prison lobby. The ones lobbying ceaselessly for ever more draconian sentences for minor drug possession crimes? Prison companies again.

  • minkyadu

    Not likely to happen.

  • minkyadu

    Private prisons have nothing to do with sentence structure.

  • Now you’re just trolling us. Cute.

  • Yeah, her attempting to lobby for comprehensive healthcare reform in the 1990s, which likely would’ve averted more than a decade of declining insurance coverage and pre-existing condition denials was a totally evil move on Hillary Clinton’s part. I mean, that’s worse than gulags and torture, right?

    And then when she held sham elections and stayed in power for decades, and made the entire world worry there might be a species-ending nuclear catastrophe… Oh right, that was Stalin — Hillary never did that. She was just the First Lady for two terms, then a popularly elected Senator from New York, and a Secretary of State for a few years. Yeah, that’s really, really evil and totally satanic.

    (#sarcasm)

  • Indigo

    Private enterprise prisons are definitely on the list of items that Hillary has to review. She’s been too casual about those for-profit organizations. This will not block her nomination nor her election but if (and maybe she doesn’t) she wants to be an effective president, she’s going to need to clean up the prison system, the Wall street system, and she’s going to have to live by those standards. I’m not sure she can walk the talk, but she’ll never walk the talk until she gets the talk lined up with what’s going on. She’s still off message, Bernie’s still on message, but she’s the kind that can learn and change her mind. This is a good thing. Remember Secretary Udall’s memorable speech where he concluded with the rousing Democratic (sic indeed!) sentiment to an auditorium full of real Democrats, “Those are my views and if you’d don’t like them . . . I can change them. I’m a Democrat!”

  • Indigo

    That’s Ms Satan to you.

  • Johannna_L

    I see: witches ……… Now why did we have to destroy the great European-American tradition of witch burning? A vote for Hillary is a vote for SATAN.

  • Johannna_L

    I fortunately know about most of the things uncle Joe did during his terror regime and Hillary is no better. That crazy ice cube woman is a menance to mankind and she must be stopped before its too late.

  • ‘Everybody’? That isn’t even close to true.

    And you use the word ‘witch’ as if that’s a bad thing to be. As one myself, I can tell you that word does not mean what you think it does and never did.

  • Obamarican

    Your brush is too broad and your insight is lacking.

  • Obamarican

    And the prison complex is now threatening to sue states to ensure their “quotas” are met.

  • AndInThisCorner

    Some things should never be for profit, and justice is one of them. ALL politicians should be held accountable for the Political Sponsorship™ they receive.

  • nicho

    This statement tells me that you know absolutely nothing about Josef Stalin and get your information about Hillary Clinton from Fox News. but you keep plugging away, Snowflake.

  • AndInThisCorner

    A middle aged American politician is Satan™?
    Talk about lowered expectations….

  • Now let’s see if every single article on Hillary’s campaign mentions that she has a problem with black voters like they did to Sanders after he had a protest. I’m guessing not.

  • Johannna_L

    Everybody hates icecube Hillary Clinton, she rubs everybody the wrong way. If elected she would start WW3, cant even be trusted with a server. That witch is SATAN, pure and simple.

  • There have been more than a few public sector functions which, since the 1980s, have been increasingly privatized. In addition to prisons, we have schools being privatized. Public utilities. Highways and parking meters & facilities. Even previously public parks.

    In every single instance, due entirely to the profit motive, fees went up, quality of services went down, abuses multiplied, and quite often the purchasing company would deliberately go bankrupt after all the marrow had been sucked from the bones.

    For example, the so-called ‘water crisis’ in Detroit and other Michigan cities. Caused by? The privatization of their water and sewage infrastructure. The cities would sell off their utilities, the private company would (1) allow the infrastructure to further decay and (2) jack up the rates for ordinary customers to 2-3 times the original amounts (or more) until people just couldn’t afford it, while leaving business/industry rates untouched. And of course for those in arrears on their water bills, the privatized water company would go after regular citizens to cut off service, not the businesses.

    But yes, prison privatization is especially egregious, because the profit motive very quickly eclipses that of justice and rehabilitation. Prison operators want draconian, unfair laws and sentencing often wildly disproportionate to the crimes committed, because each warm body behind bars is more money for the prison corporation. Hell, they’d want to encourage recidivism.

    I’m with you, Fixer: Hillary Clinton is making it hard to support her, except in a lesser-evil way…which the Republicans seem determined this cycle to make as glaring a contrast as possible. For nearly all my life, I’ve wanted to see a woman elected to the White House (and of course ideally a liberal-progressive one). While I think ‘Clinton Derangement Syndrome’ has been a very real thing since the day Bill was elected, both Bill and Hillary have made their share of mistakes and neither of them is really the progressive reformer this country really needs.

  • Joe

    Umm… what?

    Care to provide some reasoning for that crazy statement?

  • Johannna_L

    Hillary Clinton = crazy female version of Josef Stalin.

  • The_Fixer

    Sanders has the right idea. Private prisons were a bad idea, and continue to be. When something is broken, you don’t continue to use it, the situation only gets worse when you do.

    The fact that people are making money from it makes no difference. People make money from theft, that does not mean we allow it. Let the people who run private prisons find something else to do to make a living. Even if the government has to buy them out and operate those prisons themselves, it’s something that has to be done – no commercialized prisons should be permitted..

    At this point, it’s hard to justify a vote for Hillary Clinton unless it’s a hold-your-nose vote against someone worse.

    And that, my friends, is damn sad. But you knew that already.

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  • Bill_Perdue

    HRH HRC is a typical Democratic (sic) candidate. You could accurately describe her, Biden and BS and the growing number of nominal Democratic (sic) candidates – the whole Democratic (sic) clown car – as tools of the ruling class, the rich, the banksters. Except that in the case of HRH HRC, she’s more than a tool of the ruling class, she’s part of the ruling class. She got rich by being the Senator from WalMart, by extorting huge fees for speaking and by the connections to the Clinton Foundation. “As she bulldozes her way to the Democratic presidential nomination, former First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leaving no gold nugget unturned as she finances her campaign. Having amassed a wide variety of very wealthy friends throughout the global community, she is in an excellent position to call in favors and promise new ones in return for their financial assistance, as she purchases a four-year lease on the most exclusive real estate in the world.http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/08/hillary-clintons-dirty-money/

    All the candidates of the Democratic (sic) party are tools of the rich because their party is a tool of the banksters, long ago bought and paid for. Even those who pretend to be centrists like BS are in reality merely right centrists. BS peddles the F35, supports zionist colonization and votes for war budgets, in spite of this claims to be against wars. https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders/47/military-personnel#.Vbz8dvlViko Biden is the Senator from Bank of America who engineered the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 which should have been renamed the Predatory Lenders Enabling act of 2005. His Bankruptcy Act made it much more difficult for workers and consumers to file for bankruptcy and erase debts to predatory lenders.

    Democrats and their party are one of the two right wing parties that dominate the American banana republic. Investing in their campaigns is investing in attacks on working people, more wars of aggression, racsim, homophobia, misogyny and immigrant bashing.

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