Pres. Obama calls anger over Ferguson decision ‘understandable,’ but urges peace

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama called for calm Monday night, moments after a Missouri prosecutor announced there would be no indictment against the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

His measured tone stood in stunning contrast to the images of violence on the streets of Ferguson that intensified on a split screen. As the President spoke -- warning protesters that throwing bottles and smashing car windows won't help -- some members of the crowds of hundreds in Ferguson were doing just that. Police responded by firing tear gas.

Obama said anger over a grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson an "understandable reaction." But he urged protesters to remain peaceful and called on law enforcement officers in the city of Ferguson to exercise "care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur."

"We are a nation built on the rule of law, and so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make," Obama said late Monday night. "There are Americans who agree with it and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It's an understandable reaction. But I join Michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully."

The President said the inflamed tensions over the case, both in Ferguson and elsewhere, are in part a result of decades-old strains in race relations.

"There is inevitably going to be some negative reaction, and it'll make for good TV," Obama said.

"But what we want to do is to make sure that we're also focusing on those who can offer the kind of real progress that we know is possible -- that the vast majority of people Ferguson, the St. Louis region, in Missouri and around the country are looking for," he said. "I want to be partners with those folks and we need to lift up the kind of constructive dialogue that is taking place."

Asked whether he will visit Ferguson, Obama said: "Let's take a look and see how things are going." He pointed to Attorney General Eric Holder's visits to the area.

The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson was sharply criticized by the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Marcia Fudge, who called the proceedings a "miscarriage of justice."

"It is a slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail," the Ohio Democrat said. "This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that black lives hold no value; that you may kill black men in this country without consequences or repercussions. This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America."

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, said he joins Brown's family in urging protesters to remain peaceful -- and said he hopes to see law enforcement officers improve their tactics after Brown's death.

"I've talked extensively to law enforcement officials to learn more about the tactics, resources, and procedures that our first responders utilize statewide," Blunt said in a statement. "Law enforcement officials have been candid in identifying ways officers could have handled the situation in Ferguson better, and I trust those recommendations will be helpful as we continue to count on them to protect us."

READ IT: Remarks from President Obama on Ferguson grand jury decision


  • 2ECOND

    “The President said the inflamed tensions over the case, both in Ferguson and elsewhere, are in part a result of decades-old strains in race relations” it doesn’t matter what ANYONE does, there are many minorities that will never be happy no matter what is done. it really seems that the hatred is bread into many of these folks, and they aren’t happy unless that are causing havoc. want proof? why don’t you see these kind of uprisings when they kill their own….

  • G

    I’m a Veteran and I’ve never been so absolutely disgraced by the United States President. The “speech” last night was clearly not what you wanted to say. That was apparent by your expressions.. Well here it is, Mr. President. It’s time EVERYONE in this great country goes back to taking care of themselves and their families. The people that complain are lazy, VOTED FOR YOU, and want someone else to take care of them They want someone else to pay their way. Well that’s not what this country was built on. Rather than doing “what you want, for you”, try to put this country back together, stronger, and with a sense of pride. Enough of “your agenda”. It’s time for an agenda for the United States of America.

  • cynic

    “We are a nation built on laws…which I don’t really follow, but you all should.” I’d laugh but the damage he’s done to this country and particularly race relations has set us back decades and I fear may not be reversible.

Comments are closed.