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At last heeding the massive outcry for her thoughts on the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri three weeks ago, Hillary Clinton on Thursday weighed in on the tragedy and the violence that erupted there in its wake.

"Watching the recent funeral for Michael Brown, as a mother and as a human being, my heart just broke for his family," Clinton said during a keynote address at a San Francisco summit for software company Nexenta. "But I also grieve for that community and for many like it across our country."

Brown was shot and killed by white officer Darren Wilson, bringing to a headyears-long racial tensions that have simmered in Ferguson. Though the majority of the town's residents are black, its police force is 93 percent white.

"We cannot ignore the inequities that exist in our justice system," she said. But America's "true colors," she added, have been demonstrated by the peaceful protesters and the officers "who serve and protect their communities with courage and professionalism, who inspire trust rather than fear."

RELATED:Michael Brown laid to rest

As violent riots continue to flood Ferguson's streets amid nationwide debate about the law enforcement community's prejudiced administration of justice, Clinton lauded President Obama's decision to dispatch Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson to conduct a "thorough and speedy investigation."

"Behind the dramatic, terrible pictures on television, our deep challenges that will be with them, and with us, long after the cameras move on - this is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray," Clinton said. "Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone; not in America. We are better than that."

The former secretary of state's remarks drew fast praise on Twitter, but inevitable are the criticisms that they came too late. Clinton and her camp have deliberately declined opportunities to speak on the issue, though many in the media have suggested that as the early frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic president nomination, she bears more strenuous pressure to respond to such a hot-button social controversy.

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