Gov. Pence: It’s time to ‘set aside talk about institutional racism and institutional bias’

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told a church group here Thursday that there is “far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism within law enforcement” during a conversation about faith.

Pence was answering a question posed by Bishop John Brannon who asked about how Pence as vice president could personally unite the nation. Pence referenced recent police shootings of black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, saying, “It’s a very troubling time for us.”

The Charlotte shootings, which led to violence and unrest in that city this week, have sparked discussions of lethal police force against African-Americans.

Pence mentioned faith as his first means to reunite the country and reduce violence, but then said he thought there was too much talk of how law enforcement officers conduct themselves.

“Donald Trump and I believe there’s been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism within law enforcement. That police officers are human beings. In difficult and life threatening situations, mistakes are made and people have to be held to strict account,” Pence said.

The governor reiterated his belief that it is a challenging time to be in law enforcement and doubled down that “we ought to set aside this talk about institutional racism and institutional bias.”

He finished his answer by saying it’s time to “move away from the rhetoric of division and embrace the rhetoric of unity.”

The governor expressed his opinion that when tragedies happen, voices of division come forward instead of voices of unity, though he did not directly mention President Barack Obama’s leadership.

Asked Wednesday about the police shootings in Charlotte and Tulsa, Trump did not address the Charlotte incident but said he was “very, very troubled” by the shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, in Tulsa on Friday night.

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