Asked about growing concerns over police brutality toward black Americans, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Sunday that more power should be given to the police.
“It’s a massive crisis,” Trump said on Meet the Press, when asked about the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police, because crime is rampant.”
The “horrible mistakes” Trump mentioned likely refer to the recent instances of brutality toward black Americans at the hands of white police officers. Most recently, 43-year-old Samuel DuBose was shot in the head by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing during a routine traffic stop. Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was wrestled to the ground after being pulled over for improperly signaling a lane change. She later died in her jail cell, allegedly from suicide.
The circumstances of both DuBose’s and Bland’s deaths have been representative of one of the core issues of the Black Lives Matter movement — that police aren’t seen as a force for protection among black Americans, because interactions with them end with brutality or death far too frequently. They point to situations like that of Tanisha Anderson, a schizophrenic, bipolar black woman who police were supposed to help, but killed instead.
On Meet the Press, Trump said he empathized with those concerns. “There is turmoil in our country,” he said. “I can certainly see it when I see what’s going on.”
However, Trump said the answer was to give more “strength and power” to the police.
“But at the same time we have to give power back to the police, because we have to have law and order,” he said. “We have to give strength and power back to the police. You’re always going to have bad apples .. [but] the police have to regain some control of this crime wave and killing wave that we have in this country.”
According to a Wall Street Journal and NBC poll released Sunday, Trump is by far the most popular Republican candidate for president. He is, according to the poll, the first choice of 19 percent of GOP primary voters, while 15 percent back Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and 14 percent support former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.