One year after former Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson has asserted that integrating public safety forces into inner city communities "early and often" is key to preventing the riots and unrest still seen in cities like Ferguson, Missouri.
"We're looking at and concentrating on the wrong things," the retired neurosurgeon said of solving racial tensions during a recent Fox News interview. "We need to be looking for solutions to the problems. We can sit here and point fingers from now until doomsday, and all that's going to do is create more conflict."
Carson, who is also a professing Christian, said he believes there are many who actually "enjoy" and "derive their power" from conflict, but said "we've got to be smarter than that" if such problems are ever going to be solved in America.
"We need to think about introducing police officers into those communities early on so that little Johnny's first encounter with the police is one of somebody he likes, somebody who's playing ball with him, not somebody who's chasing him down an ally with a gun," he emphasized.
"That will change things dramatically and as most people know, when they know people of different races as their friends, they don't think of them as someone of a different race because that's someone they know."
Carson, who is the only black presidential candidate, also told the news outlet that having an African-American role model for the race to rally to behind isn't necessary as it only "fans the flame of division."
While the "Gifted Hands" author acknowledged Martin Luther King Junior was needed because racial inequality was unavoidable during his time, he said "that's not the case anymore."
"A lot of people want to think that it is and they want to keep stirring those flames of division just like people think there's a war on women and people that always have an income war going on," Carson continued. "We don't need all this garbage, our strength is in our unity and you can always find reasons to fan the flame of division but that's not what a good leader does."
If he is elected as president, the Republican contender for the White House says he'll promote the unity and peace that President Obama has not.
"We have a community organizer with the bully-pulpit and what do community organizers do," asked Carson. "It's 'us against them, we gotta get ours.' That's what they do. Why should anybody be surprised?"
In a Facebook post shared on Tuesday, Carson further elaborated on his thoughts regarding racial tensions in America: "I grew up in some pretty rough places. I know what it is like to see violence outside your front door," he writes. "We cannot allow an adversarial relationship to develop between communities and the men and women who try to keep them safe. I think the answer is greater understanding. It is easy to judge someone when you haven't walked in their shoes. To gain greater understanding, we need to integrate our public safety forces into these communities early and often. If a young man or woman plays in a police athletic league, they get to know a human, not a uniform. At the same time, a public servant gets to know a human being first."
He continued, "As hopelessness grows in our urban communities, I fear things may get worse. We cannot allow this to happen. Respect and understanding are key to justice and peace. We are not each others enemy. Community policing was so successful for this very reason. We must try harder."
Meanwhile, following the first Republican presidential debate Thursday night, Public Policy Polling released a poll of Republican primary voters in Iowa, showing Carson with 12% support among Republicans, placing him second behind Donald Trump.
NBC and SurveyMonkey also released a poll Sunday in which Carson rose to 11% nationally among Republican primary voters, trailing just behind only Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
And the firm Morning Consult also found Carson among the top-three candidates in its post-debate poll released on Monday, with the retired neurosurgeon up to 9% from 8% in late July.