- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2015

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley apologized after he was interrupted by protesters when the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said “all lives matter” at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix over the weekend.

“That was a mistake on my part, and I meant no disrespect,” Mr. O’Malley said in an interview on “This Week in Blackness,” a digital show. “I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or to communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

Several dozen demonstrators interrupted Mr. O’Malley by shouting “Black lives matter!” — which has become a rallying cry in the wake of recent shootings of black men by police officers — and Mr. O’Malley responded: “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter,” according to CNN.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of Mr. O’Malley’s rivals on the Democratic side, was shouted down as well when he tried to speak, according to Yahoo! News.

“Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity,” Mr. Sanders said. “But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2016 Democratic front-runner, was not at the conference, but received some pushback for using the phrase when she recently spoke at a church near Ferguson, Missouri, the site of rioting and protests last summer in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

In response to a question about the protesters at the event, Mrs. Clinton said during a Facebook question and answer session Monday that “black lives matter.”

“Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that,” she said. “We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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