Jun 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ben Carson says shooting of Rayshard Brooks is "not clear-cut" like Floyd killing

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said on "Fox News Sunday" that the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta was “not clear-cut” like the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, noting that Brooks was resisting arrest and that an investigation is necessary in order to make a judgment.

Why it matters: Brooks' death sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta on Saturday night, with demonstrators setting a fire at the Wendy's restaurant where the 27-year-old was shot and blocking off a nearby highway. Atlanta's chief of police has resigned and the officer who killed Brooks has been fired.

What they're saying: "I think this is a situation that is not clear-cut, you know, like the callous murder that occurred in Minnesota," Carson said. "It really requires some heads of people who actually know what should be done under these circumstances to make judgement."

  • "We don't know what was in the mind of the officer when someone turns around and points a weapon at him. Is he absolutely sure that's a non-lethal weapon? This is not a clear-cut circumstance. Now could it have been handled better? It certainly — in retrospect, there are probably other ways to do things."
  • "But, again, we don't know. We, the public, don't know. Is there a reason they don't use, you know, night sticks or those expandable clubs to subdue somebody who's resisting? We don't know the answer to that. There are qualified officers who would know the answer to that."

The big picture: Carson said he taught his son the same lesson his mother taught him: "We should always respect the positions of authority like the police."

  • "I've never had a problem; they've never had a problem. Does that mean there are no racist cops? No, it does not mean that. Does that mean that we need to get them out of our system? It absolutely means does."
  • "And we need to look at appropriate reforms, and this is probably a good time to shine a spotlight on it and get them done."

What's next: Carson did not say whether Trump will support the House Democrats' proposed police reforms, which include banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants and removing qualified immunity for police officers.

  • "Obviously, we do not want to create a situation where the police are under the microscope and that they don't want to do their job because they're afraid," Carson said. "That is not going to be useful."

Go deeper: Atlanta police officer fired after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks

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