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Obama Says Nation Must Take Steps to Address Racial Bias in Policing

Image: Obama Says Nation Must Take Steps to Address Racial Bias in Policing

Thursday, 07 Jul 2016 06:07 PM

President Barack Obama said on Thursday the fatal shootings of black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana in two days underscored the need for the nation to address "the appearance or reality of racial bias" in policing.

"These fatal shootings are not isolated incidents," Obama said in a posting on Facebook. "They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve."

"We can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement," he said.

The deaths of Philando Castile at a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were the latest in a string of shootings that have led to calls for a revamp in the way police interact with the black community.

"To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day," Obama said.

"All Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling ... Michelle and I share those feelings," he added.

At a press briefing in Warsaw, Obama offered condolences to the family of the black motorist, who was killed by a Minnesota cop, and insisted the country had seen "tragedies like this too many times".

Citing a litany of evidence to show that non-white Americans are more likely to be pulled over, searched or shot by police, Obama appealed to white Americans not to see this as a fringe issue.

"This is not just a black issue. It's not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we should all care about," Obama said in a hastily arranged statement on arrival in Warsaw for a NATO summit.

"All fair minded people should be concerned."

"It's incumbent on all of us to say we can do better than this. We are better than this."

Obama said a series of reforms recommended by the White House last year should be implemented across the country.

"If anything good comes out of these tragedies, my hope is that communities around the country take a look and say, 'how can we implement these recommendations'."

"There's some jurisdictions out there that have adopted these recommendations. There are a whole bunch that have not."

America's debate on police use of lethal force, especially against young black men, has been fueled by a spate of high-profile cases that have occurred across the country.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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President Barack Obama said on Thursday the fatal shootings of black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana in two days underscored the need for the nation to address the appearance or reality of racial bias in policing. These fatal shootings are not isolated incidents,...
obama, racial, bias, policing
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2016-07-07
Thursday, 07 Jul 2016 06:07 PM
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