- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Donald Trump on Wednesday addressed the recent shootings of black men at the hands of police in Oklahoma and North Carolina by questioning whether an officer in Tulsa got “scared” or “was choking,” while also reaffirming his support for law enforcement.

Mr. Trump said he’s a “tremendous believer” in police and law enforcement, but that even among great people, there can be problems.

“You have somebody in there that either makes a mistake that’s bad or that chokes,” he said. “I must tell you: I watched the shooting in particular in Tulsa, and that man was hands up, that man went to the car hands up, put his hand on the car.”

“To me, it looked like he did everything he’s supposed to do, and he looked like a really good man,” he said.

Mr. Trump was speaking at a church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, at an event hosted by Pastor Darrell Scott, a supporter of Mr. Trump’s who is African-American.

Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by an officer in Tulsa last week after his car stalled, and Tulsa police are asking the Justice Department to investigate.

“This young officer — I don’t know what she was thinking,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t know what she was thinking, but I’m very, very troubled by that.”

Police have said Crutcher did not follow commands given to him.

“By the way, the police are troubled by it, too. They look at it,” Mr. Trump said. “Now, did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened?”

“But maybe people like that, people that choke, people that do that — maybe they can’t be doing what they’re doing,” he said.

“So we all respect our police greatly, and they will just have to get better and better and better,” Mr. Trump said.

Protests also broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina, after Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, was shot and killed by police Tuesday.

Police said he had a gun on him before he was shot, but Scott’s family said he had a book.

As polls show the race between Mr. Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton tightening, he’s been making a concerted effort to reach out to African-American voters, who overwhelmingly supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“I want to thank the African-American community, because I don’t know if you’ve been watching, but the poll numbers are going like a rocket ship,” Mr. Trump also said at the event Wednesday.

“I think initially they didn’t know what to expect and as I spoke about the inner cities, which are in such trouble, and I spoke about instances like we’re having today with Charlotte and Tulsa and problems, and we want to see that unify as quickly as possible. Those are two problems … we have to get that unified and taken care of. It’s sad to see,” he said.

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