US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has defended the police shooting of an African American man in Milwaukee, saying the incident was justified.
Sylville K. Smith, 23, was killed by an officer on Saturday, when he fled a traffic stop on foot. His death triggered protests in the city.
“We have to obey the laws or we don’t have a country,” Trump said Tuesday after visiting police in the city.
“The gun was pointed at his [police officer’s] head supposedly ready to be fired,” said the business mogul.
The candidate slammed the protests by the outraged crowds as “rioting,” saying it should not happen.
“Who can have a problem with that? That’s what the narrative is. Maybe it’s not true. If it is true, people shouldn’t be rioting.”
The protests erupted on Saturday and continued for the second night on Sunday, prompting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to put the National Guard on alert.
The unrest peaked when a BP gas station was set on fire and gunshots prevented firefighters from doing their job.
During his speech, Trump also called for support from African Americans, saying they will have a better future, if he gets elected in November, 2016.
“I’m asking for the vote for every African-American citizen struggling in our society today who wants a different and much better future,” Trump said.
The New York businessman criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accusing her of bigotry.
“Jobs, safety, opportunity, fair and equal representation. We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to, and talks down to, communities of color and sees them only as votes – that’s all they care about – not as individual human beings worthy of a better future.”