In a lengthy Facebook post this afternoon, President Obama took a forceful tone, saying the recent deadly police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota to highlight a country that is suffering a breakdown between law enforcement and civilians.
“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. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”
Obama, who is currently traveling to Poland for the NATO Summit, wrote he does not perceive the recent shootings of two African-American men by police officers as isolated incidents, but rather an indication of a larger racial divide:
“[The shootings] 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.”
Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, spoke earlier today to the media and said the President has been closely following news of the two shootings.
— Juliet Eilperin (@eilperin) July 7, 2016
As communities across the country express concern and, in some instances, outrage, on both sides, Obama concluded his post by asking people to not let the shootings divide them:
“In the meantime, all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling — feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils. Michelle and I share those feelings.
Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let’s reflect on what we can do better. Let’s come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter.”
The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the Louisiana shooting; the Minnesota incident is also being investigated by law enforcement officials.