News & Politics

Obama to Meet with Black Lives Matter Leader, Rev. Al Sharpton at the White House

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

President Barack Obama will be meeting Thursday with DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who jumped in to the race for Baltimore’s mayor earlier this month. Al Sharpton and other black leaders will also be at the White House for an event honoring Black History Month.

Via the Baltimore Sun:

Mckesson, a former school administrator and Black Lives Matter protester who co-founded We the Protestors and Campaign Zero, will attend the meeting along with Al Sharpton, Cornell Brooks, president of the NAACP, and Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

A White House official described the meeting as a first-of-its-kind gathering of leaders who represent different generations of the civil rights movement, and said the discussion will focus on criminal justice reform and building trust between police and neighborhoods.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will also be in attendance.

Violent crime in U.S. cities has spiked in the past year as tensions between police and minorities (possibly stoked by Black Lives Matter agitators) have increased.

FBI statistics show that violent crime rose in the first half of 2015, compared with the same period in 2014. In medium-size cities of 250,000 to 500,000 residents, violent crime increased 5.3 percent. FBI Director James B. Comey has said he believes the protests over police-involved shootings are causing police to be less aggressive in their policing tactics, contributing to the rise in violent crime — a suggestion the White House disputes.