President Obama Demands Calmness from Police, Citizens in Ferguson
White House | YouTube President Barack Obama addresses the media.
During a Thursday press conference, President Barack Obama denounced unnecessary police force and asked authorities and citizens alike to remain calm as details behind the shooting death of Michael Brown unfold.
From Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Obama denounced last night's chaos when police used military tactics to disperse protesters and also jailed several reporters.
"There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights," Obama said.
"Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground," Obama said later.
Obama also condemned those citizens who have been attacking police, rioting and looting local businesses.
"There's no excuse for vandalism or looting," the president said.
The White House has been in contact with local officials and law enforcement about how to better handle operations. During the press conference, Obama reiterated the need for collaboration.
"I've already tasked the Department of Justice to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown. The Department of Justice is also looking at ways to maintain public safety and the right of peaceful protest," Obama said. "We need to determine exactly what happened and see that justice is done."
"Now's the time for healing and an open transparent process," Obama said later. "I've asked the Department of Justice and the attorney general on the scene to work with local officials to move the process forward. They'll be reporting to me in the coming days to ensure that's happening."
Obama reiterated that the unrest in Ferguson from both police and citizens centers on an officer shooting eighteen-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, spurring an ongoing investigation into the surrounding details.
"It's important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking, tragic circumstances," Obama said. "When something like this happens, the local police have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they're investigating and how they're working with communities."
"Emotions are raw in Ferguson, and there are passionate differences in how people look at how this happened," Obama continued. "We're all part of one American family, united in common values, and that includes a belief in equality under the law, the right to peaceful protest, dignity for every man, woman and child among us, and accountability from our government."