Tags: obama | baltimore | stealing | not. protesting

Obama: Too Many Troubling Police Interactions with Blacks

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 04:57 PM

As National Guard troops responded to rioting in Baltimore, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that there have been too many troubling police interactions with black citizens across American in what he called "a slow-rolling crisis." But he said there was no excuse for rioters to engage in senseless violence.

Obama said people in Baltimore who stole from businesses and burned buildings and cars should be treated as criminals. "They aren't protesting, they aren't making a statement, they're stealing," Obama said.

Obama spoke at a White House press conference with the Japanese prime minister the day after violence broke out 40 miles north after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a black man who died in Baltimore police custody under mysterious circumstances.

Obama said the case should prompt some "soul searching" in America about communities where young men are more likely to end up in jail or dead than completing school. He said police shouldn't be expected to do the "dirty work" and solutions should involve early education, criminal justice reform and job training. He said American can't just "pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns."

"We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up, it seems like, once a week now," Obama said. He said it's not new, but there's new awareness as a result of cameras and social media.

Obama has been struggling with the issue since protests erupted last year over the death of Michael Brown, a black teenager who was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. A grand jury decided not to indict the police officer, Darren Wilson.

A task force ordered by the president recommended a series of measures in March aimed at building confidence between police departments and the minority neighborhoods they patrol.

The recommendations, which included having police shootings investigated by independent prosecutors, have yet to be put in place and there are questions about how to pay for them, with the Democrat Obama facing a Republican Congress in no mood to approve much new spending.

Obama's proposal for $263 million to help purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for police and pay for expanded training has stalled in Congress.

With rioting against police and arson and looting erupting in Baltimore, Obama found himself again offering condolences to the families of victims and sympathy to injured police officers.

But he made a point of bemoaning Americans' tendency to focus on violence while it rages on their TV screens but pay little attention to helping find ways to help lift up impoverished communities.

"If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It's just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns and ...when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped," said Obama.

Obama, at a joint news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said it was important for police departments to recognize that some of them have a problem in how they deal with criminal suspects of color.

"There are some police who aren't doing the right thing," he said. Rather than close ranks, he said, some police chiefs have recognized "they've got to get their arms" around the problem.

The Baltimore riots have caused ripples among the Republicans who are jockeying for the party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a leading contender, said there needs to be a commitment to "the rule of law and to law enforcement" but that whatever happened should be investigated quickly to give people confidence in the system.

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As National Guard troops responded to rioting in Baltimore, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that there have been too many troubling police interactions with black citizens across American in what he called a slow-rolling crisis. But he said there was no excuse for...
obama, baltimore, stealing, not. protesting
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2015-57-28
Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 04:57 PM
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