Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Wednesday that he was troubled by the controversial shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40, by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby last Friday because he looked like he did "everything he was supposed to do" but was killed anyway.
"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 hands on the car, I mean to me it looked like he did everything he was supposed to do," said Trump in remarks at a town hall style event addressing African-American issues in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
"And he looked like a really good man and maybe I'm a little clouded because I saw his family talking about him after the fact, so you get a little bit different image maybe. But to me he looked like somebody who was doing what they were asking him to do and this young officer I don't know what she was thinking. I don't know what she was thinking but I am very, very troubled by that," said Trump to applause.
Trump's comments came after he was asked by Rev. Darrell Scott, CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights where the town hall was held, to comment on the "recent shootings of unarmed black men by the police."
While stating that he was a "tremendous believer in the police," Trump indicated that he felt some police officers who he called "chokers" are psychologically unfit for work in law enforcement and should be removed.
"Well as you know I'm a tremendous believer in the police and law enforcement because we need that for ourselves, we do," said Trump to applause.
"And I've really gotten the endorsement from so many different groups and they're great people. Now, great people you always have problems. You have somebody in there that either makes a mistake that's bad or they choke," he said.
"I'm very, very troubled by that and we have to be very careful so, these things are terrible. In my opinion that was a terrible situation and we've seen others and the police are aware of that too…. Now did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened? But maybe people like that. People that choke, maybe people that do that, maybe they can't be doing what they are doing," he said to more applause.
Crutcher was shot dead last Friday in a controversial encounter with Shelby after his SUV broke down in the middle of the street.
Tulsa police initially told the Associated Press that Terence Crutcher died in the hospital Friday evening after he was shot once. They explained that two officers found him standing by his broken down SUV in the middle of the road. Police then said he refused commands to raise his hands as he approached officers and reached into the vehicle instead, prompting one officer to fire a Taser and another to fire a single round.
Footage released from police dashboard cameras, as well as footage from a police helicopter, however, show Crutcher had his hands up and was unarmed when he was Tasered and shot.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, well-known civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump also charged that Crutcher could not have reached into his SUV at the time of the shooting because enhanced photos from police video taken of the scene show that his window was rolled up according to The Denver Post.