During a stop in Lexington, South Carolina, on Dec. 30, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush defended a grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer for killing 12-year old Tamir Rice (video below).
Bush was asked by a reporter about the Dec. 29 decision not to charge Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot the African-American boy for holding a toy gun in a public park in November 2014.
Bush confused Cleveland with Chicago in his reply: “I think that Chicago has a lot of work to do to rebuild trust. The level of violence is abhorrent.”
Bush was told that the Rice shooting took place in Cleveland, and said: "Oh, I'm sorry. My bad."
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Bush later added: "In every community where you have these cases, elected officials and the police chief need to engage with the community to rebuild trust. But the process worked. If there is a grand jury that looks at all the facts and doesn't indict, maybe there's reasons for that. I don't believe that every grand jury is racist."
Bush did not explain why trust would need to be rebuilt between the police and the community if, as he said, the grand jury was correct in not charging Loehmann in the Rice shooting.
"These tragedies that take place, there's way too many of them, and it doesn't change my view, because we have those kinds of well-publicized cases of violence, that we should be supportive of law enforcement," Bush said.
According to The Counted, an online database maintained by The Guardian, U.S. police have killed 1,134 Americans in 2015, most of whom were black.
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Bush also expressed his opposition to the Justice Department investigating the incident by slamming the U.S. Attorney General.
“There’s been lots of cases where he goes out and calls for an investigation, and it turns out there’s nothing there; no civil rights violations or any of the civil violations that he had jurisdiction over,” Bush said.
“I think there should be more caution about using the federal government’s power and more focus on trying to rebuild trust from the bottom up.”