Ben Carson, notably the only black man running for president, made a joke Wednesday afternoon about running away from the cops as a kid.
"Throwing rocks at cars, I really liked that," he said, describing his childhood. "Sometimes, the police would come, always in unmarked cars. And, they'd be chasing us across the field."
Carson said he would hop over 10-foot-tall fences, to run away from the police.
"Now, that was back in the days before they would shoot you," he said, laughing. The crowd joined in laughter.
"I'm just kidding!" he said. "You know, they wouldn't do that."
He made the comments here at the University of New Hampshire at the beginning of a speech to a ballroom full of white voters, a mix of graying baby boomers and college-age millennials.
The joke hung strangely in the ballroom air. The surgeon-turned-politician then quickly pivoted.
"In fact, I will use that segue to say I really have a tremendous amount of respect for the police," he said, "because they put their lives on the line everyday for us."
The crowd erupted in applause.