Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson at a candidates forum Sept. 18, 2015, in Greenville, S.C.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson took a moment Wednesday, while speaking at the University of New Hampshire, to make a joke about his childhood and the current state of police violence against black people.

"Throwing rocks at cars, I really liked that," Carson said, describing his childhood growing up in Detroit. "Sometimes the police would come, always in unmarked cars. And they'd be chasing us across the field."

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The then-swift-of-feet Carson, he told the audience, and his friends would jump over 10-foot-high fences in one motion, never breaking stride, to get away from the cops. Once over the fence, a young Carson and crew would laugh at the cops because they couldn't jump the fence. 

"Now, that was back in the days before they would shoot you," Carson said, laughing.

The crowd, made up of "white voters, a mix of graying baby boomers and college-age millennials," according to NPR, laughed with him.

"I'm just kidding!" he then said. "You know, they wouldn't do that."

The joke, amid the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, went over about as well as it could, but Carson used the moment not as a lesson in ending police brutality but as an opportunity to praise police.

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"I really have a tremendous amount of respect for the police because they put their lives on the line every day for us, and they are the very last people that we should be targeting," he said, NBC News reports.

Read more at NPR and NBC News