President Obama released his first statement on the shooting of Missouri teenager Michael Brown, urging calm in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after two nights of rioting.
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time,” Obama said. “As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed.”
Brown, 18, was shot to death in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon. Police say the teen attacked an officer and tried to take his gun, while witnesses counter that the unarmed teen had his hands up in the air.
On Monday, Holder said in a statement that his department’s investigation “will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities.”
“At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right,” Holder said.
A group of lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus asked Holder today to expand the DOJ’s investigation toward the Ferguson police as a whole, studying their past background of incidents in addition to the shooting of Brown.
“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” Obama continued. “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”
“Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”