Sandra Bland’s death in Texas police custody didn't have to do with her race, Ben Carson said in a television interview.
The incident in July, in which the 28-year-old black woman was found hanged in her cell, shows a need for a look into police department practices in general, not a fight against race discrimination, the Republican presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon said.
"I think we also have a tendency to inject race into everything anytime that there are people of different races involved in a conflict," Carson said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”
"A lot of things that are class and economics are ascribed to race," he added.
The Bland case began when a Texas state trooper in Prairie View pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change. The two argued, the incident escalated, and the officer arrested her for assaulting a public servant. She was found three days later in her cell, hanged with a trash bag. Her death was ruled a suicide, and last week a grand jury that investigated her death decided to not issue an indictment.
Earlier on the show, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he believed the officer would not have arrested Bland if her skin had been white.
He cautioned host John Dickerson on his questions about whether the incident involved racial discrimination. The issue included more variables than just one, but does show that legislators should look into how sensitive police are to individual people, he said.
Carson used arrests made for traffic tickets as an example of the justice system acting too harshly.
A person can be issued a $70 ticket. "They don't have any way of paying that,” he said. "They ignore it, the next you know there's a warrant for their arrest, they lose their job. All we have to do is be a little sensitive and say you can pay this off at $5 a week."