Trump and Clinton Respond to Charlotte Violence

September 22, 2016 Updated: September 22, 2016

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton weighed in after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Monday, Sept. 21 in Charlotte, North Carolina, calling for peace and searching for answers. 

“Hopefully the violence & unrest in Charlotte will come to an immediate end,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “To those injured, get well soon. We need unity & leadership.”

Wednesday saw a second night of violent protests in the city, which included rioting, tear gas, and left one civilian dead. The city’s police said the civilian was not shot by an officer. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory subsequently declared a state of emergency in the city. 

Clinton responded on the campaign trail, first lamenting that there were “two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers,” referring to Scott and to Terence Crutcher, who was killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sept. 16.

Clinton then spoke about the fallout of the Charlotte shooting.

“It’s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable,” she said in Orlando, Florida. “We also saw the targeting of police officers in Philadelphia last week. And last night in Charlotte, 12 officers were injured in demonstrations following Keith Scott’s death. Every day police officers are serving with courage, honor and skill.”

Trump took to the campaign trail in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on Thursday and responded to the violence in Charlotte. He suggested that President Obama has a responsibility “to address this crisis and save African-American lives.” The GOP nominee also said drugs were a factor in the continuing violence and racial tension. 

“If you’re not aware, drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television,” he said in a speech to the Shale Insight 2016 Conference in Pittsburgh.

The speech in Pittsburgh addressed the racial divisions that have devolved into violence and promised that these racial divisions would be unacceptable if he were elected in November. 

“There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration,” he said at the beginning of remarks.

“Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world’s leader,” he continued.

“How can we lead when we can’t even control our own cities? We honor and recognize the right of all Americans to peacefully assemble, protest and demonstrate, but there is no right to engage in violent disruption or to threaten the public safety and peace of others.”

Trump said in a North Carolina rally that black communities “are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before—ever, ever, ever.” Then at a Fox News Town Hall Tuesday he embraced the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies when he was asked how he would address violence in the black community. 

“We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well,” Trump said, later clarifying he only meant Chicago should implement the system. The stop-and-frisk policy was ruled unconstitutional by a New York judge in 2013.

The Charlotte police have not released a video of the shooting of Scott. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said releasing the police dashcam and body camera footage of Scott’s shooting could undermine the investigation. 

An undisclosed number of National Guardsmen have been sent into Charlotte to help with the policing streets on what’s expected to be a third night of violence.