Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson boasted of spending his childhood running away from police, "back in the days before they would shoot you."
While recounting his childhood during a campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, the neurosurgeon fondly recalled being chased by police and hopping over fences to escape them.
"Throwing rocks at cars, I really liked that. Sometimes, the police would come, always in unmarked cars. And, they'd be chasing us across the field, and they would think they trapped us," he said. "Now, that was back in the days before they would shoot you."
He paused and then added: "I'm just kidding! You know they wouldn't do that."
Carson laughed, and the predominantly white audience laughed along with him.
Carson then praised the work of police, arguing that they receive an unfair amount of criticism, a veiled jab at the Black Lives Matter movement and others who have called for police reform and a deeper examination into policing practices, particularly the use of force. The candidate said "that doesn't mean we go out and try to eliminate them. We don't go out and try to kill them. We need in this society to really grow up and stop allowing ourselves to be divided."
"I really have a tremendous amount of respect for the police because they put their lives on the line every day for us, and they are the very last people that we should be targeting," he added.
Carson, who is the only black presidential candidate in either party, has been reluctant to address the role of race in policing and the numerous incidents of black men killed at the hands of police. Instead, he has emphasized "respect" among police and communities and called on blacks to take more responsibility. Carson has also called the Black Lives Matter movement "silly" and "divisive."
Watch Carson's comments in the clip above.
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