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Bill Clinton owes the country an apology, Bernie Sanders says in Harlem

Washington: Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders demanded that Clinton must apologized to the nation for defending Hillary Clinton's past use of the term "superpredators" for repeat juvenile offenders.

Sanders made the call during a panel discussion on issues facing African Americans that was hosted by his campaign at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

"I think the president owes the American people an apology for trying to defend what's indefensible," Sanders told a crowd of more than 1,000 people who had gathered at the historic theater. The event was organised to showcase the outreach of Sanders to African Americans in advance of the April 19 primary in New York.

Sanders was joined on stage by three fellow panelists, all of whom supported his call. The three were: Harry Belafonte, the legendary entertainer and civil rights activist; Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being put in a choke hold by New York police; and Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator.

At the start of the discussion, the moderator, Charlamagne tha God, a radio and television personality, asked the panelists what they thought of Bill Clinton's recent remarks to Black Lives Matter activists who booed and heckled Clinton when he went to Philadelphia to campaign for his wife.

One of the protesters held a sign that declared, "Black youth are not super predators." That was a reference to a Hillary Clinton comment in 1996 about "the kind of kids that are called super-predators" and the need "to bring them to heel."

Pointing to the signs, the former president, said: "I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-olds hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn't!"

Asked for his thoughts on Clinton's comments, Sanders said: "Unacceptable. We all know what the term meant in the context that it was said years ago. We know who they were talking about."