President Obama Asks For Calm Following Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Monday, following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown.

“We are a nation built on the rule of law,” Obama said. “We need to accept this was the grand jury’s decision to make. There are Americans who agree, and there are Americans who are deeply disagree, and are even angry about the decision, he said.

Obama said he joins Brown’s parents in asking anyone who chooses to join protests to do it peacefully. “Michael Brown’s parents lost more than anyone,” he said. “We should be honoring their wishes.”

Obama also appealed to law enforcement in the region to help manage peaceful protests, and show restraint.”Our police officers put their lives on the line every day,” he said. “As they do their jobs in the coming day, they need to work with the community, not against

Obama encouraged law enforcement to work to distinguish between people who would use grand jury decision for violence and people who want their voices heard.

He said the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges in American, including a deep distrust that exists between law enforcement and communities of color.

Nobody needs good policing more than poor communities, he said. Obama said it was important to work with police departments to make sure their ranks are representative of community they serve. “We know that makes a difference,” he said.

Obama said he knows there are still problems across the country, but “we have made enormous progress. I have witnessed that in my own life. To deny that progress is to deny america’s capacity for change.”

“Communities of color aren’t just making these problems up,” he said. There are issues in which the law feels it is being applied in discriminatory fashion, Obama said. While he said those situations were not the majority, but they are “real issues.”

But the president said the problems won’t be solved by smashing bottles, car windows, vandalizing property or hurting people. He said to the people of Ferguson there are ways of channeling concerns constructively. “Michael Brown’s parents understand what it means to be constructive,” he said.

“We do have work to do here. We shouldn’t try to paper it over,” Obama said. “Whenever we do that, anger may momentarily subside, but over time it builds up.”

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