It's Official: Obama Takes Sides in Ferguson

"Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement -- guilty of walking while black or driving while black..."

Any pretense that President Obama would let justice take its course in Ferguson, MO without his use of the bully pulpit of the presidency to influence or sway events on the ground has been completely thrown out the window. 

Saturday night, Obama firmly "took sides" in the Michael Brown case during a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Obama called the shooting an event that exposed the racial divide in America and "scars the hearts of our children."

Fox News reports on Obama's speech and quotes the President using language that could easily be part of an Al Sharpton monologue on MSNBC: 

"In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement -- guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness."

As the Washington Times points out, President Obama then tried to pretend that he would not take a stand on the ongoing investigation, even though he had just referred to the shooting of Brown as an example of "young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement -- guilty of walking while black or driving while black." 

At the president’s speech in Washington, the audience included the parents of Mr. Brown, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., whose agency is conducting a probe to determine whether the slain teen’s civil rights were violated. Mr. Obama said because of the continuing probe, “I won’t comment on the investigation.”

But he added, “We have to close the justice gap — how justice is applied, but also how it is perceived, how it is experienced. That’s what we saw in Ferguson this summer when Michael Brown was killed and the community was divided.”

Mr. Obama said there are “significant racial disparities” in the criminal justice system “in everything from enforcing drug policy to applying the death penalty to pulling people over.”

The remarks are in stark contrast to what the President said in a press conference during the week of rioting in Ferguson following the shooting:  

"This is not an argument that there isn’t real crime out there and that law enforcement doesn’t have a difficult job. And you know, that they -- you know, they have to be honored and respected for the danger and difficulty of law enforcement. 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."

Issues

People