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Story highlights

Jeb Bush commented on decision not to indict police in Tamir Rice's killing

Not "every grand jury is racist," the ex-Florida governor said

(CNN) —  

GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, weighing in on the decision not to indict police officers in last year’s shooting of Tamir Rice, said a grand jury has made a decision and that “the process worked.”

“If there is a grand jury that looks at all the facts and doesn’t indict maybe there’s reasons for that,” he told reporters after a town hall in Lexington, South Carolina. “I don’t believe that every grand jury is racist.”

The former Florida governor initially confused the case with another high profile police shooting case in Chicago when he was asked about Rice.

“I think that Chicago’s got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust. The level of violence is abhorrent,” he said, when asked about the grand jury decision out of Cleveland earlier this week.

The reporter corrected Bush, saying, the shooting of Rice “happened in Cleveland.”

“I’m sorry, my bad,” Bush quickly said. “In every community where you have these cases, elected officials and the police chief need to engage with the community to rebuild trust.”

“These tragedies that take place, there’s way too many of them, and it doesn’t change my view – because we have those kinds of well-publicized cases of violence – that we should be supportive of law enforcement,” he later added.

Opinion: Rice’s death a lawful tragedy

The Justice Department announced it would continue its internal investigation of the matter, in which Rice, a 12-year-old boy, was shot and killed by police while holding a toy gun.

Bush has previously been critical of President Obama’s administration and the U.S. attorney general for getting involved in local matters and “politicizing” cases involving police shootings.

“There’s been lots of cases where he goes out and calls for an investigation and turns out nothing, there’s nothing there, no civil rights violations or any of the civil violations that he had jurisdiction over,” Bush said Wednesday. “So, I think there should be more caution by using the federal government’s power and more focus on trying to rebuild trust from the bottom up.”

Opinion: Why not more outrage over Tamir Rice killing?