CHICAGO (FOX 32 / AP) - Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday said a video showing a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting a black teenager was "abominable" and that the city's delay in releasing the footage was "a failure of government."
After Carson, the only black candidate in the 2016 field, held a fundraiser and met with ministers, he blasted the city's mishandling of the Laquan McDonald killing.
Although the city almost immediately sent the video to the FBI of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times, Carson condemned the delay in making it public.
“That represents a failure of government. And everybody loses in this situation like that,” Carson said. “The community loses. The state loses. The nation loses. We simply cannot condone this kind of activity. We cannot sweep it under the rug. This is what creates a lot of the animosity that exists in our society today.”
Carson called the controversy over the McDonald killing a national issue, but said that since he is not from Chicago, he would not weigh in on Mayor Emanuel's political future. He did say, though, that the people in Chicago should decide whether Emanuel stays or goes.
However, Carson did indicate that he isn't buying Emanuel's explanation that the city waited to release the video because of ongoing investigations. Critics have accused the mayor of keeping it under wraps until after he won a second term in April - a claim Emanuel denies.
"Whether it was a cover up or not it was hidden for a very long time," Carson said. "It's hard to come up with a rational reason to do that other than a political reason."
Carson said he had watched the video of McDonald's killing and found it appalling.
“I thought it was an abominable act. I think we have a very inappropriate action by a police officer. And it's despicable. And it disturbs me that it was hidden for such a long period of time,” Carson said.
Carson seemed surprised when he was told that, within two weeks of the McDonald killing, the city sent the police dashcam video to the FBI and the Cook County State's Attorney. He also seemed surprised that the feds have still not completed their investigation of the matter.
He also said easing racial tensions may be best accomplished by getting police, community members and local leaders need to talk more. When that happens, he added, "a lot of times things do not blow up the same way."
There may very well have been a politically convenient delay in releasing the video to the public until after April's mayoral election, but the widespread suggestion that there was somehow an attempt to hide the video from the federal government and prosecutors is false.
The McDonald footage has led to weeks of protests and calls for Mayor Emanuel to resign. The Justice Department has also opened a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
Carson also did not address his slide from first to third in several national polls.
Frontrunner Donald Trump, though, was not as shy, tweeting, "Wow, my poll numbers have just been announced and have gone through the roof!"
While Trump strengthened his hold on first place among Republicans surveyed by the New York Times, he did not address another finding of the poll: 64 percent of ALL voters said the possibility Trump could become President had them "scared" or "concerned."
That includes former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party Pat Brady.
"Most people just don't like him. And if seven in ten don't like you, you're never going to be President of the United States. But, in the meanwhile, he's doing all this damage to the Republican Party by some of the stupid statements he's making about all these different groups," said Brady.
Republican Presidential candidates rarely campaign in Illinois ahead of a general election, since Illinois-native Ronald Reagan was the last one to carry the state 32 years ago. But the state will send 69 delegates to next summer's GOP convention in Cleveland, which is a big prize that they'll all be fighting for in Illinois during the March 15th primary.