President Obama on Thursday expressed concern over the “violent turn” in Ferguson, Mo. as protesters clash with police following the shooting of Michael Brown and criticized police who arrested two reporters covering the protests on Wednesday night.
Obama said people need to “come together” in Ferguson, and said that he will be working with the Department of Justice and local authorities to make sure that “justice is done.”
The president said that police need to be “open and transparent” about their investigation into Brown’s death.
“We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances,” Obama said. “And when something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.”
He said that there’s “never an excuse for violence against police,” but also that there’s no excuse for authorities to use “excessive force” against protesters.
He added that “police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their job.”
“Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority,” he said.
“There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family,” he continued. “So now is the time for healing. Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done.”
Obama expressed confidence in Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) ability to help deescalate the situation, calling him a “good man and fine governor.”