CLEVELAND, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaking to black pastors in Cleveland, said a white police officer choked and fatally shot a black man during a routine encounter.
Trump said he saw a video circulated widely online that showed multiple officers with their weapons trained on the man, Terence Crutcher, who was outside his vehicle during a traffic stop. Crutcher was not armed and had his hands in the air, but according to police accounts, did not follow officers' orders and began walking away from a patrol car and toward his own vehicle. Officer Betty Shelby opened fire, striking Crutcher multiple times.
Shelby's attorney said her client believed Crutcher was reaching inside an open window into his vehicle and perceived a threat warranting use of deadly force. An attorney for Crutcher's family said the window on the vehicle was closed, disputing Shelby's account.
Trump, who has been campaigning regularly of late in largely black communities, broke with his previous statements in support of police in other officer-involved shootings that have sparked protests, questioning what Shelby could have been thinking when she opened fire.
"I watched the shooting, in part, in Tulsa, and that man was hands up. That man went to the car, hands up, put his hands on the car.
"To me, it looked like he did everything you're supposed to do," Trump added. "The young officer -- I don't know what she was thinking. But I'm very, very troubled by that. Did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened? People that do that -- maybe they can't be doing what they're doing."
In some previous controversial police shootings of black citizens, Trump has defended their officers' actions. As the self-proclaimed "law and order" candidate, Trump has called for more police in inner cities and during his convention speech proclaimed "blue lives matter" -- a response to the protest movement Black Lives Matter.