AP: Obama Urges Greater Respect, Understanding After Shootings


Time: 10:34 p.m. CEST

President Barack Obama on Sunday urged respect and restraint from Americans angered by the killing of black men by police, saying anything less does a “disservice to the cause” of ridding the criminal justice system of racial bias, the Associated Press reports. Obama also urged law enforcement to treat seriously complaints that they are heavy-handed and intolerant, particularly toward minorities.

“I’d like all sides to listen to each other,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question after he met with Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, during an abbreviated first visit to Spain as president.

The AP says, Obama’s appeal for greater understanding from opposing sides of the emotionally charged debate over police practices followed the weekend arrests of scores of people in Louisiana and Minnesota who protested the shooting deaths by police of black men in both states last week.

Obama, in his remarks, urged protesters to recognize that police officers have a difficult job. “Whenever those of us who are concerned about failures of the criminal justice system attack police, you are doing a disservice to the cause,” Obama said, the fourth straight day that he has commented on the distressing chain of events at home.
The president’s remarks on the issue likely foreshadowed the message he will deliver Tuesday in Dallas, when he addresses an interfaith memorial service for the slain officers. He was invited to speak by Mayor Mike Rawlings, the White House said.

“Maintaining a truthful and serious and respectful tone is going to help mobilize American society to bring about real change,” Obama said.

The president also called for balance from law enforcement. “I would hope that police organizations are also respectful of the frustrations that people in these communities feel and not just dismiss these protests and these complaints as political correctness,” he said.

“It is in the interest of police officers that their communities trust them,” Obama said.

Some of Obama’s critics have accused him of helping create an environment for attacks on law enforcement by blaming their conduct in previous incidents and sympathizing with Black Lives Matter and other groups that complain about racial unfairness in the justice system.

Source: The Associated Press (Darlene Superville and Kathleen Hennessay)

 

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