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Bridget Johnson

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August 18, 2014 - 2:33 pm

Back from his weeklong vacation, President Obama told a late afternoon press conference that he has to be “very careful about not prejudging these events” like the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown “before investigations are completed.”

Obama met with Attorney General Eric Holder in the Oval Office after lunch, and said he spoke with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) by phone.

Holder, Obama said, “will be traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with the FBI agents and DOJ personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation and he will receive an update from them on their progress.”

“He will also be meeting with other leaders in the community who’s support is so critical to bringing about peace and calm in Ferguson,” the president added.

Holder will be joined by Ronald Davis, the director of the DOJ’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. DOJ community relations officials have been “working in Ferguson since the days after the shooting to foster conversations among the local stakeholders and reduce tensions among the community.”

“We have all seen images of protesters and law enforcement in the streets. It’s clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What’s also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not,” Obama said. “While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines rather than advancing justice.”

Giving another nod to the recent arrests of reporters in Ferguson, he added, “Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded: especially in moments like these.”

“Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other,” Obama continued. “As Americans, we’ve got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that’s been laid bare by this moment. The potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family.”

The president gave a pitch for his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, an administration program focused on the challenges faced by young men of color. “In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.”

Obama said the chasm between the community and law enforcement is nothing new, but “it’s always tragic when it involves the death of someone so young.”

“I have to be very careful about not prejudging these events before investigations are completed. Because, although these are, you know, issues of local jurisdiction — you know, the DOJ works for me. And then when they’re conducting an investigation, I’ve got to make sure that I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other,” he said.

Obama said his job is getting at the “root causes” of why young men of color are “more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college.”

“There are young black men that commit crime. And — and — and we can argue about why that happens because of the poverty they were born into or the lack of opportunity or the school systems that failed them or what have you, but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted because every community has an interest in public safety,” he said. “And if you go into the African American community or the Latino community, some of the folks who are most intent on making sure that criminals are dealt with are people that have been preyed upon by them.”

“So, this is not an argument that there isn’t real crime out there and that law enforcement doesn’t have a difficult job…  But what is also true is that given the history of this country, where we can make progress in building up more confidence, more trust, making sure that our criminal justice system is acutely aware of the possibilities of disparities in treatment, there are safeguards in place to avoid those disparities where, you know, training and assistance is provided to local law enforcement who, you know, may just need more information in order to avoid potential disparity.”

Obama did not directly responded to the main question of retiring ABC News Radio correspondent Ann Compton, who asked about Ferguson, “Has anyone there asked you, or have you considered going yourself?”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
More accurately :

"I'm not going to put my finger on the scales. That's what I have Eric Holder for."
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
What he meant was, "I have to be very careful about not getting caught pre-judging events."
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unless you already have your preconceived notions in place there is no need to be careful. Is this president so stupid as to be that transparent? Apparently he is.

Duh!

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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He'll postjudge, after the investigation. And the DOJ who "you know, works for ME" will come up with the politically correct findings. Every one of his smarmy remarks are politically correct. What a Pinocchio.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Truth And Consequences

"Just because I make you feel bad doesn't make you right."

With regard to ethnic and racial relations in Canada and the UK, the truth is no defense. Make someone feel bad about his race or ethnicity? Go to jail. The truth has become no defense. Consequence? Tyranny.

The Negroid community provides an example. With support from those of The Left, it has unleashed a tyranny by a minority to the point that many of its members feel free to riot whenever they claim, even wrongly, that a supposed injustice has been committed against one of them. They demand not only child support for their bastardy and to be given preferences in hiring even when unwarranted but to be given free housing, free food, free clothing, free medical care, and even free telephones. Negroid demands for such license now serve as a model for other minorities to imitate.

Truly, the Negroid community is in shambles, partially a consequence of the welfare-state and partly as a consequence of most of its members’ refusal to assume responsibility for themselves. Eighty percent of Negroid babies are illegitimate. The intact Negroid family is a mere fragment of its former self. Those are facts. Attacking the messenger won’t change them.

Perhaps, Negroid demagogues endlessly rekindling grievances of the past now may be having a counter-productive effect. The truth is that the real hope for Negroes lies not in playing the getting-tiresome guilt-game but in generating real respect for real achievements ... achievements for themselves as well as for the rest of the world. To date, how many have there been? In the end, context and consequences always tell the tale (www.nationonfire.com).
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama faking being president of all the people.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is not a federal government issue, and what they need to do is to keep their big noses out of it.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
No "the Ferguson police acted stupidly" or "if I had a son, he'd look like Michael Brown"...?

It's a tossup whether or not Barack has actually learned something or only how to keep his mouth shut.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
“There are young black men that commit crime. And — and — and we can argue about why that happens because of the poverty they were born into or the lack of opportunity or the school systems that failed them or what have you,..."

What is "what have you"? Could it be their own choices? Could it be responsibility for their own actions? By continuing to blame everything and everyone else for their actions, FCMABBHO is helping to perpetuate the victim mentality that these young men have had foisted onto them since the day they were born.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even beyond the victim mentality is an almost cavalier attitude some have towards killing in general...that a life they take (particularly when it's not "kin") has no meaning and killing is almost casual.

The race industry (not to mention a certain president and his AG) is all about never acknowledging this very ugly truth.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re: Barry's speech today. Fart noises.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holder is there. Pardon? Pardon??
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of the three possible epitaphs I might choose for myself, one might be "Words Have Meaning".

When I heard 0bama say, "I've got to make sure that I don't look like I'm putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other." I said out loud: He didn't say, "I've got to be sure that I'm not putting my thumb on the scales..." He said, "...make sure that I don't look like..." That's when I stopped listening. Though I'll give him credit for at least unconsciously saying what he means.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good catch. It was immediately after he said that the DoJ works for him. Huh. I've always thought that the government works for us.

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Too late for that. Obama is a Racist Activist, not a Presidental Leader.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
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