WASHINGTON - U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are calling for a quick end to deadly street confrontations in the nation's cities in the aftermath of the latest police killings of African-American men.
Trump, the Republican contender in the November 8 election, told a political rally in the eastern city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, "The violence against our citizens and our law enforcement must be brought to a very rapid end."
He said the deadly encounters between police and residents in the country's often-impoverished inner cities are "a never-ending problem."
A subdued Trump, a real estate tycoon seeking his first elected office, said, "America desperately needs unity and it needs the spirit of togetherness .... which has lifted us up to our greatest achievements as a nation. We need to bring that spirit to every part of our country and become one American nation, united by shared values and principles as American citizens."
He added, "Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world's leader. How can we lead when we can't even control our own cities?"
Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, referred in a Twitter message to two black men shot by police in disputed circumstances in recent days in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Keith Lamont Scott. Terence Crutcher. Too many others. This has got to end. -H," she said, signing the post herself, even as she stayed off the campaign trail Thursday as she prepared for Monday's first presidential debate with Trump.
On Wednesday, Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state looking to become the country's first female president, said the killings are "unbearable and need to become intolerable."
She said the country needs strength, love and kindness and that "we are safer when communities respect police and police respect communities."
The number of crimes has fallen for years in the United States, but more recently murders and shootings have spiked in some cities, like Chicago, Illinois, the third biggest city in the country.
Trump suggested Wednesday that big city police departments throughout the country need to adopt a controversial "stop and frisk" policy in which police confront people on the street in communities plagued by high crime to see if they are carrying illegal weapons or drugs. New York had such a policy in years past, but abandoned it when it became apparent that police most often indiscriminately stopped and frisked blacks and other minorities.
Watch related video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:
?On Thursday, however, Trump said he only meant that Chicago adopt the stop and frisk policy.
"Chicago is out of control," he said.
The New York billionaire suggested - falsely - that violence in Chicago is worse than that in Afghanistan
"I think Chicago needs stop and frisk," Trump said. "When you have 3,000 people shot and so many people dying, I mean it's worse than some of the places we're hearing about like Afghanistan, you know, the war-torn nations."
In the Tulsa case last week, a white female police officer killed Crutcher in a highway confrontation. Trump suggested she may have "choked."
"I don't know what she was thinking," Trump said.
"It just seems that there's a lack of spirit between the white and the black," Trump told Fox News. "It's a terrible thing that we're witnessing."