COLORADO SPRINGS — GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence called on the country to end debate about "institutional racism" among law enforcement officers as protests in Charlotte flared this week following the shooting of another black man by a police officer.
"We ought to set aside this talk, this talk about institutional racism and institutional bias," Pence said during a roundtable with pastors in a Colorado Springs church on Thursday afternoon.
"Police officers are human beings and in difficult and life-threatening situations, mistakes are made and people have to be held to strict account," the Republican vice presidential candidate continued, noting, though, that "there will be a thorough investigation and that justice will be served and high standards will be upheld."
Pence called the riots in Charlotte "heartbreaking," and asserted that "too much of our politics in recent years has been about dividing the American people."
At a separate rally in the city later in the afternoon, Pence specifically called out Hillary Clinton for engaging in that divisiveness after she denounced "systemic racism" during a campaign speech in Orlando on Wednesday.
Pence called law enforcement a "force for good."
"Too much of our politics has been about, about what, when current events happen, when tragedies happen, that the voices of division come forward as opposed to the voices of unity," he told the church crowd in Colorado Springs.