President Obama gave a press conference tonight following the news that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges after shooting an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, more than three months ago.
The president acknowledged that the decision was a ?subject of intense disagreement not only in Ferguson but across America,? and that some were ?deeply disappointed, even angry.? However, he called for peaceful protest that reflected the fact that we are ?a nation built on rule of law.? Invoking the words of Michael Brown, Sr., father of the slain teen, Obama quoted:
?No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son?sdeath to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.?
Further, Obama added an ?appeal to law enforcement officials in Ferguson to show restraint in managing protests,? and to ?work with the community, not against the community? in order to distinguish the protesters from those who would use the decision to perpetrate violence.
Watch the entire speech?below:
President Obama asked for recognition that ?the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenge that we still face? as a nation, the result of ?a legacy of racial discrimination.? He acknowledged a distrust between law enforcement and communities of color and asked that others understand that there are ?still problems?communities of color are not just making things up.? He also stated that while disagreement with the decision was ?no excuse for violence,? those who want the issues to ?go away? should recognize that ?we do have work to do.?
During the question-and-answer session with White House reporters, the president would not give a decision about whether or not he planned to go to Ferguson ?until we see how we’re doing.? He stated that the media had a responsibility to ?focus just as much on positive change? brought about by peaceful protesters and activist groups? as the inevitable ?negative reaction.?
Obama would not respond to questions about whether or not federal charges would be sought.
Peace be with you, Ferguson. We stand in solidarity.