Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that the Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man this week may have “choked.” He further implied that she shouldn’t be on the force if she did.
In a question-and-answer session following a roundtable event at New Spirit Revival Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Trump said that the victim, Terence Crutcher, “looked like a really good man” and appeared to have followed police instructions.
“I watched the shooting in particular in Tulsa and that man was hands up, that man went to the car, hands up, put his hands on the car,” Trump said, according to a transcript by the Guardian. “To me it looked like he did everything you’re supposed to do, and he looked like a really good man.”
Trump went on to question the actions of Officer Betty Shelby, who shot Crutcher, saying he was “very very troubled” by the shooting.
“Did she get scared? Was she choking?” he asked. “Maybe people like that, people that choke, people that do that, maybe they can’t be doing what they’re doing.”
Tulsa police released dashcam video Monday of the fatal shooting of Crutcher, who was black, by Shelby, who is white. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement released Tuesday, Hillary Clinton called the Tulsa shooting an “unbearable” incident that “needs to be intolerable.”
Trump’s comments on the Tulsa shooting contrast sharply with his reactions to previous police shootings of black men. He said in July that he “hated watching” videos of the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, according to an ABC report.
“Every once in a while, problems will happen,” he said at the time, emphasizing that “we have to treat our police with respect” when investigating the causes of fatal shootings.
In August, Trump defended the actions of a black Milwaukee officer who fatally shot Sylville Smith, who police said turned towards the officer while holding a gun.
“It was a terrible thing that happened. The reports seem to be that he put a gun in a police officer’s face,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “What can you say?”
The roundtable event was Trump’s latest foray into outreach to black voters after the GOP nominee made his first visit to a black community on the 2016 campaign trail earlier in September to make an address at Detroit’s Great Faith Ministries. Since then, Trump has made several visits to majority minority Midwestern cities.
Watch part of Trump’s response below via ABC News:
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 21, 2016