US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said initial evidence suggests the shooting of a black man by police in Milwaukee was justified, BBC reports. The killing of Sylville Smith in a predominantly African-American part of the city on Saturday led to protests.
“We have to obey the laws or we don’t have a country,” Mr Trump told Fox News after visiting police in the city. He later addressed a rally there. A string of fatal police shootings have sparked demonstrations across the US.
Protesters say the police are too ready to use lethal force against African Americans. In the latest incident, Mr Smith, 23, was stopped by police and then fled. Officials said he was shot because he was carrying an illegal handgun and had refused to drop it.
“The gun was pointed at his [a police officer’s] head supposedly ready to be fired,” said Mr Trump, the Republican presidential candidate. “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.”
Mr Trump, a businessman who stunned the political world by winning the Republican primary contests, met Sheriff David Clarke in a private meeting on Tuesday. Mr Clarke has put the state’s National Guard on standby but it has not been used.
New York hotel developer Mr Trump has been vocal in his support for the police throughout his election campaign. He trails Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the polls, ahead of November’s presidential election, after a series of controversial remarks.
At the Milwaukee campaign rally later on Tuesday, Mr Trump said the lack of effective policing was doing a disservice to African-American communities who were being hurt by violence in their neighbourhoods.
“The war on police is a war on all peaceful citizens who want to be able to work and live and send their kids to school in safety. “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter or the robber or the looter or the violent disruptor, of which there are many.”