NEW YORK — Potential 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson called the shooting death of 50-year-old father of four Walter Scott by South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, which was caught on video, "an execution" and a clear-cut case of police abuse.
"This situation with Walter Scott in South Carolina, you know I viewed that video with the same horror as I'm sure everyone here did. I was aghast that an execution could have occurred without a trial in the streets of America," Carson said to cheers in an address to members of Al Sharpton's National Action Network at the organization's annual convention in New York City Wednesday.
"This is such a clear-cut case that I believe it's going to give law enforcement in this country an opportunity to really tell us where they are in this controversy. They will have the opportunity to demonstrate which side they come down on. And I think that's actually a good thing because we need these clear-cut cases," Carson explained.
The renowned neurosurgeon, who shot to political stardom in 2013 for denouncing political correctness and criticizing the Obama administration's policies at the National Prayer Breakfast, also asked the mostly black audience attending the event to stop defending "thugs" as heroes in the community.
"I also think that we, in the African-American community, have to make sure that we also recognize that sometimes there's fault on our side. Sometimes we have people who do not obey the law, who do not do lawful things and who are thugs, and when we try to hold them up as heroes it kind of makes our legitimate complaints not as substantial," said Carson.
"We have to make sure that we look at things objectively and fairly for everybody," he said.
Slager, 33, a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was charged with Scott's murder on Tuesday after a video showed him shooting the father of four in the back multiple times as he ran away. Scott was unarmed.
The officer said in a statement through his attorney that he "felt threatened" when he and Scott struggled over his Taser in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. Scott was "wanted for arrest on a Family Court warrant, Charleston County sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said Tuesday."