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Clinton campaigns in Brooklyn, vows to curb gun violence

Campaigning at a Brooklyn church on Sunday, April

Campaigning at a Brooklyn church on Sunday, April 3, 2016, Clinton told the congregation that she would fight to reduce gun violence. Credit: AP / Craig Ruttle

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned in Brooklyn yesterday, telling congregants at three predominantly black churches 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 African-American churchgoers at the Christian Cultural Center in Canarsie.

Clinton also appeared at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill and Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where she pledged to end racial profiling among law enforcement agencies.

The appearances came as Clinton tries to shore up support against her rival, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, before 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 last Thursday.

But Sanders 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.

At the churches, Clinton acknowledged the endorsement of Nicole Bell, whose fiancé Sean Bell was shot to death in 2006 by plainclothes police officers on the morning of his wedding, 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 at the Christian Cultural Center, saying she would build on the advocacy work of Bell’s fiancé and other anti gun-violence activists to improve community policing policies and gun laws.

At Brown Memorial Baptist Church, before some 100 congregants, Clinton emphasized her local ties, saying she had the “New York know-how” to deliver on her campaign promises.

She “humbly” asked for the support of more than 100 churchgoers at Mount Pisgah, saying she would “tackle systemic racism” and continue President Barack Obama’s push for affordable health care coverage.

On Monday, Clinton is scheduled to appear with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Manhattan for a rally to celebrate last week’s passage of a state minimum wage hike. Clinton will also headline the Suffolk Democrats’ $300-a-head spring dinner on April 11.

Bill Clinton will campaign on behalf of his wife in Elmont on Tuesday, with an 11a.m. appearance at The Vault, according to a campaign news release.

With Rick Brand

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