In a late-night appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama
also urged Americans to understand that much work remained to be
done to improve relations between black Americans and law
"We need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make.
There are Americans who agree with it and there are Americans who
are deeply disappointed, even angry. Itís an understandable
reaction," Obama said.
Angry crowds in Ferguson, Missouri, took to the streets on Monday
night and there were flashes of violence after the grand jury
determined there was no probable cause to charge officer Darren
Wilson in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The shooting set off weeks of sometimes violent protests in the St.
Louis suburb and highlighted racial tensions in the community.
Obama said there were still many parts of the country where a deep
distrust existed between law enforcement and communities of color,
and that steps must be taken to improve the situation, such as
increasing the number of minority people who enter the police ranks.
"Some of this is the result of racial discrimination in this country
and this is tragic because nobody needs good policing more than poor
communities with higher crime rates. The good news is we know there
are things we can do to help," he said.
[to top of second column]
About 200 protesters demonstrated peacefully outside the White House
on Monday night, holding signs and chanting: "We are Michael Brown."
Obama has weighed in on questions of race previously. When black
Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch
volunteer in 2012, Obama said: "If I had a son, he'd look like
In 2009, he criticized the police handling of the arrest of Harvard
University professor Henry Gates, saying police acted "stupidly."
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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