Obama: Police shootings should trouble all Americans

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Thursday, July 7, 2016
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the fatal police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota after arriving in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, July 8, 2016.
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the fatal police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota after arriving in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, July 8, 2016.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

WARSAW (KGO) -- President Barack Obama says all fair-minded people in the U.S. should be concerned about the problem of frequent police shootings of black people. Obama spoke after landing in Warsaw, where he will attend the NATO summit.[br /][br /]In his remarks, Obama spoke about the fatal police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, saying statistics show disparities about how African-Americans and Hispanics are treated by police.[br /][Ads /][br /]He says America must say "we're better than this." He says it's not just a black or Hispanic issue. Obama says when incidents like this occur, many Americans feel it's because they're not being treated the same. He says, "That hurts."[br /][br /]The president says he has respect for the vast majority of police officers.[br /][br /]Obama spoke from a hotel in Warsaw, Poland, just after arriving for a NATO summit.[br /][br /]Obama said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he and First Lady Michelle Obama "recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling" in the wake of two police-involved killings that have [url HREF="http://abc7news.com/news/girlfriend-posts-video-of-gruesome-aftermath-of-mn-police-shooting/1416864/" TARGET="" REL=""]sparked widespread protests[/url].[br /][br /]"All Americans should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota," Obama wrote in a [url TARGET="_blank" HREF="https://www.facebook.com/potus/posts/507884336068078 " ]post[/url] on Facebook. "We've seen such tragedies far too many times, and our hearts go out to the families and communities who've suffered such a painful loss."[br/][br /][br /][twitter ID="751185470759981056" /][br /][Ads /][br /]The president said he is "constrained in commenting on the particular facts of these cases," but is "encouraged" that the U.S. Department of Justice[/url] has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Sterling.[br/][br /][br /]"But regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what's clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents," Obama noted. "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."[br /][br /]Obama said that realization "in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers." But, he wrote, "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."[br /][br /]The president highlighted his administration's previous efforts to examine the relationship between local law enforcement and communities with his task force on 21st-century policing, which issued [url TARGET="_blank" HREF="http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf" ]recommendations[/url] in May 2015 on how to improve community policing.[br /][br /]"So even as officials continue to look into this week's tragic shootings, we also need communities to address the underlying fissures that lead to these incidents, and to implement those ideas that can make a difference," he wrote. "That's how we'll keep our communities safe. And that's how we can start restoring confidence that all people in this great nation are equal before the law."[br /][br /]"Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let's reflect on what we can do better," Obama continued. "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."[br /][Ads /][br /][url HREF="http://abc7news.com/tag/officer-involved-shooting/" TARGET="" REL=""]Click here[/url] for full coverage on recent officer-involved shootings.[br /][br /][twitter ID="751186261423960064" /][br /][twitter ID="751186261948321792" /][br /][twitter ID="751186791835660288" /][br /][twitter ID="751187152411648004" /][br /][twitter ID="751187954777804800" /]