Hillary Clinton Breaks Her Silence on Ferguson

Just off a three-week vacation in the Hamptons, Hillary Clinton used her first day back on the speaking circuit Thursday to address the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, applauding President Obama for his response to the protests and calling for a nationwide effort to improve racial inequalities that she said still persist in the American justice system.

"Watching the recent funeral for Michael Brown, as a mother, as a human being, my heart just broke for his family," Clinton said during her prepared remarks at a tech conference in San Francisco.

"Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone. Not in America. We are better than that," she added, referencing "dramatic, terrible" pictures she watched on television.

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Brown, 18, was killed when a police officer in Ferguson evidently shot him six times after a confrontation in the street on Aug. 9, setting off two weeks of protests and clashes with police.

Until today, Clinton was silent on the situation.

"Imagine what we would feel and do if white drivers were three times more likely to be searched than black drivers … if white offenders received prison sentences longer than black … if a third of all white men went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that," Clinton told an audience of Silicon Valley tech employees. "That is the reality of the lives of so many of our fellow Americans and the communities in which they live."

The former secretary of state and likely 2016 presidential candidate praised Obama for sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson, saying it was "necessary" to find out what happened during the shooting and "see that justice is done."

Clinton, on vacation most of this month, has faced criticism for her silence during the unrest, particularly last week when she ignored questions on the subject from two reporters at a book signing on Long Island.

(Noah Berger/AP Photo)