Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence on Thursday said Americans should refrain from speaking about racial bias within law enforcement immediately after police shootings to help bring unity to communities like Charlotte, North Carolina, where violent protests raged this week over the police shooting of a black man.
“It’s a challenging time to be in law enforcement. But I would tell you that, Donald Trump and I know and believe that the men and women in law enforcement you know, you know are white officers, African-American officers, Hispanic, Latino, or Asian officers, they’re the best of us,” the Indiana governor said in a town hall in Colorado Springs, CO.
“And that we ought to set aside this talk about institutional racism and institutional bias and when tragedies happen, which I consider any loss of life to be a tragedy. When tragedies happen, we assure the public a thorough investigation and a transparent application of the law. But again, to move away from the rhetoric of division and embrace the rhetoric of unity, I think, is the order of the day,” he added.
Studies widely show African-Americans are more likely to be stopped by police. Young black men are also more likely to be killed by law enforcement than other Americans, according to The Guardian.
Addressing racial tensions in wake of police shootings in Dallas earlier this year, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said that Americans needed to acknowledge “that implicit bias still exists across society and even in the best police departments.”
In an interview with MSNBC’s Brian Williams on Wednesday, Pence said he found it “offensive” that Clinton refers “to implicit bias or institutional bias within the ranks of our law enforcement community broadly.”
“Obviously when mistakes are made and tragedy occurs, they should be fully investigated. But enough already of this reference to law enforcement and institutional or implicit bias,” he said.
But while Pence defended police, his running mate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said he was “very troubled” by the police shooting of an unarmed African-American man in Tulsa this week.
“This young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking, but I’m very, very troubled by that. I’m very, very troubled by that,” he said.