Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, said that he watched in "horror" as Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was gunned down by a South Carolina police officer.
"I was aghast that an execution occurred without a trial in the streets of America," said Carson, speaking at the National Action Network Convention in New York City, hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton. "It's going to give law enforcement an opportunity to really tell us where they are in this controversy."
Carson, 63, later tried to focus attention on the issue of crime stemming from within communities of color.
"Sometimes we have people who do not obey the law, who do not do lawful things, who are thugs," said Carson. "And when we try to hold them up as heroes it kind of makes our legitimate complaints not as substantial."
Carson, an African-American Republican, received a chilly reception from the largely Democratic leaning audience. But he was welcomed by Rev. Al Sharpton to address the convention and share his vision for America and his opinion on issues affecting minority communities.
"You may not be my choice for president," said Sharpton. "But if I need surgery, you're my man."
Carson, who has already established a presidential exploratory committee, reflected on his life growing up in poverty and rising to national acclaim as a well-famed neurosurgeon. He insisted that it's possible to rise out of any condition to success without any government help.
"What I would like to do is to allow people to move from a state of dependency to a state of independence," said Carson. "What we really need to be concentrating on is our economy."
Early Wednesday, when Sharpton made the announcement that Ben Carson would speak, there were audible boos.
In the face of snickers and jeers from the largely Democratic audience, Carson expanded on his political views and swiped at Obamacare. And he didn't shy away from any of his staunchly conservative positions.
"People say that I hate gay people," said Carson. "I don't. I just believe marriage is between a man and a woman."