Obama blames police, plays race card: Deaths of black men by police a ‘slow-rolling crisis’
As National Guard troops responded to rioting in Baltimore, President Barack Obama said Tuesday there have been too many troubling police interactions with black citizens across America in what he called “a slow-rolling crisis.” But he said there was no excuse for rioters to engage in senseless violence.
Obama said those in Baltimore who stole from businesses and burned buildings and cars should be treated as criminals. “They aren’t protesting, they aren’t making a statement, they’re stealing,” Obama said.
The president spoke at a White House press conference with the Japanese prime minister the day after violence broke out 40 miles north after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a black man who died in Baltimore police custody under mysterious circumstances. At least 15 police officers were hurt and nearly 200 people were arrested in Monday’s disturbance.
… “We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up, it seems like, once a week now,” Obama said. He said it’s not new, but there’s new awareness as a result of cameras and social media.
Obama said he can’t force police departments across the country to retrain their officers, but he can work with them and help pay for body cameras to improve accountability.
“In those environments, if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there, without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those [black] communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem,” he said. “And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets. And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”