(CNN) – Asked if there was a general problem in the United States with the way police deal with young African-American men, Gov. Chris Christie argued people shouldn’t be quick “to make generalizations.”
“Whatever happened in Ferguson, we have a justice system in this country that will be able to make that judgment, and if there are people who need to be held accountable, I'm confident they will be,” the New Jersey Republican said in a response to a question by WNYC’s Matt Katz.
“But I'm not going to get into this business of generalizing against law enforcement officers. It's not right,” he continued.
His comments Friday came one day after Sen. Rand Paul, another potential presidential candidate, said the police response to the racially-charged street protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer was an example of how law enforcement has become too militarized.
In an opinion piece for Time, the Kentucky Republican wrote that there “should be a difference between a police response and a military response."
While Paul labeled racial tension a crucial element to the recent unrest, Christie, a former U.S. attorney, did not go that far.
“I think it's very dangerous to make generalizations about anybody like that,” Christie said, referring to the reporter’s question about the relationship between police and African Americans. The governor made his comments in a press conference in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
“We have millions of dedicated men and women who are police officers across this country, who work in grave danger every day, who try to make sure they protect innocent people across the country,” he continued. “So I'm not going to get into this game of generalizing and characterizing people in that way. Everyone should be judged on their merits.”