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Hillary Clinton on Ferguson: 'We can do better'

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pictured during a presentation of her new book at Schiller theatre in Berlin, Germany on July 6, 2014
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pictured during a presentation of her new book at Schiller theatre in Berlin, Germany on July 6, 2014

Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 US presidential candidate, has weighed in for the first time on the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, saying America can do better.

The August 9 killing of Michael Brown, 18, and the subsequent crackdown on demonstrators in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson revived a debate about race in the United States and sparked condemnation of police tactics and militarization.

"Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone. Not in America. We are better than that," Clinton said in San Francisco Thursday amid criticism for having stayed silent on the subject.

"We cannot ignore the inequities that persist in our justice system. Inequities that undermine our most deeply held values of fairness and equality."

As a "mother" and "human being," the former secretary of state and first lady said her heart broke for Brown's family "because losing a child is every parent greatest fear and an unimaginable loss."

"But I also grieve for that community ... this is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray," she added.

Clinton, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, applauded the US president's decision to send Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson and for "demanding a thorough and speedy investigation."

"We can work to rebuild the bonds of trust from the ground up," she added.

Ferguson was hit with ten days of at times violent protests and clashes in the wake of Brown's shooting by a white police officer, accounts of which differ.

While police allege Brown was trying to grab Wilson's gun, witnesses said he was shot as he held his hands in the air in a clear sign of surrender.

The teenager was eulogized Monday as a victim of abusive policing at a funeral service attended by thousands, including US civil rights leaders and representatives dispatched by Obama.

Clinton has remained silent so far on her presidential intentions, yet all of her actions -- a series of lectures, a tour to promote her latest memoir, media appearances -- appear calibrated toward a 2016 campaign.