President Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus have released statements in the wake of protests in Ferguson, MO, which have spread to at least 37 states after a grand jury failed to indict a white police office in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
President Obama has committed his administration to redoubling its efforts to find solutions to the distrust between law enforcement and minority communities, saying, “The problem is not just a Ferguson problem. It’s an American problem.”
The president condemned the rioting and violence that occurred Monday night in Missouri after the grand jury decision was announced.
“Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive, and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted for it,” he said Tuesday in Chicago.
But Obama said there were also peaceful protests to the grand jury’s decision, which didn’t get as much attention in the media.
“Frustrations that we’ve seen are not just about a particular incident,” he sad. “They have deep roots in many communities of color, who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly.”
In a prepared statement, members of the Congressional Black Caucus called the failure to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson a “slap in the face” for those seeking justice for the death of Michael Brown.
“(This) is a miscarriage of justice,” CBC Chair Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) 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,” Fudge’s statement continued. “This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America.”
After months of deliberation, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch announced that a grand jury had reached a decision not to indict Wilson on criminal charges. Wilson shot and killed the unarmed teenager Aug. 9 in a confrontation on the streets of Ferguson.