Columbia, SC – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told a black student that the best way to handle incidents with police is to show them respect “so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.”
The 78-year-old presidential hopeful’s public statement was made during the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum question-and-answer session at Benedict College on Saturday, CBS News reported.
“If I’m your son, what advice would you give me next time I’m pulled over by a police officer?” the male student asked him.
“I would respect what they are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head,” Sanders said after a long pause. “But I would also be very mindful of the fact that as a nation, we have got to hold police officers accountable for the actions that they commit.”
Sanders said that black citizens should politely do everything they can to identify the officer who they are dealing with.
“I would be very cautious if you were my son in terms of dealing with that police officer, but I would also defend my rights and know my rights and make sure if possible that police officer’s camera is on what goes on,” he added.
According to CBS News, the question seemed to “stump” the presidential candidate, and his response failed to drum up much approval from the crowd.
Sanders selected a different clip – one in which he hammered away about how the “wealthy and powerful” are “above the law” – to post to Twitter.
“If you are wealthy and powerful, or maybe the president, you are above the law,” he said in the clip. “But if you are poor, if you’re black, if you’re Hispanic, it’s a different story.”
You can watch footage of Sanders’ ill-received anti-police comments in the video below: