August 14th, 2014
03:05 PM ET
4 months ago

Obama takes measured tone on clashes in Ferguson

Updated 4:34 p.m. ET, 8/14/2014

(CNN) – President Obama on Thursday urged calm and peace in Ferguson, Missouri, where clashes between protestors and police continue to escalate in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.

The President condemned all parties involved in the recent unrest.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting, nor is there an excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protestors,” Obama said in his first on-camera statement since Brown was killed on Saturday.

“Now’s the time for healing, now’s the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson,” Obama said continued.

A White House official said the President and his advisers have been monitoring the situation since Monday and Obama chose to speak out Thursday on the issue because the "situation seemed to be not getting better." As of now, there are no plans for the President to cut short his vacation at Martha's Vineyard, according to the official.

Obama's comments mark a less personal tone than his response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin two years ago. Speaking in the Rose Garden in March 2012, Obama said “if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.”

The comments were striking to many at the time–seen as a candid moment from a president known for his measured responses. Many comparisons have been drawn between the shooting of Brown and the shooting of Martin, both unarmed, African-American teenagers.

With a few exceptions, Obama has typically been reluctant to wade into racial issues.

In 2009 he got some backlash after he criticized the arrest of African-American Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested outside of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Obama said that the local police “acted stupidly.”

The remarks led to a fury of controversy, culminating in a beer summit at the White House between Gates and the arresting officer James Crowley.

Several politicians addressed the situation in Ferguson on Thursday, including Rand Paul, who penned an op-ed for TIME, “We Must Demilitarize the Police.”


Filed under: Missouri • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Say WHAT???

    With a few exceptions, Obama has typically been reluctant to wade into racial issues.
    --–

    Seriously??? This is a blatant and easily proven lie. In his 5.5 years in office, has he EVER uttered the words "no comment"??? No.

    August 14, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Marty

    I think he looks like he needs to go hit a bucket of balls.

    August 14, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. smith

    So I see Ferguson has popped up on the Ticker today and as I suspected we have some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. The protests during the day are peaceful but at night there is arson, looting, blunt objects being thrown at police and threats of more violence. The feds are on the case and the facts will come out

    August 14, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Once again, the dishonest one is you. Every bracket rate was reduced."

    The average person earning $45,000/year saw their taxes drop by an average of less than five or ten bucks, which is not a tax cut at all. I don't know what to call that, but it's not a tax cut. Those making over a million saw their taxes cut by double digit percentages. Bush did nothing on the Alternative Minimum Tax, which most middle class families saw a net hike.

    August 14, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    There is one aspect of the shooting that the Ferguson authorities need to answer. Why did he have a shot in the back?

    August 14, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    Conservative decoder ring:
    Obama says little on Ferguson: He is not showing leadership, not saying enough.
    Obama says lots on Ferguson: He is race baiting, saying too much.
    Obama picks a flower: He is a dictator.

    August 14, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Sniffit – " Why are you conflating the police force with the local elected officials? "

    Who do you think hires the police force?
    Who do you think the police force answers to?

    And do you you acknowledge that local elected officials are the ones who must answer to the VOTERS?"

    I don't see what that has to do with anything. Fact: 67% black population. Fact: 94% white police force. Fact: years and years of racial tension as a result. Fact: unarmed kid shot with his hands up. Fact: the other facts make for the perfect storm. If your argument is 'we;;, black people voted for black representation and then their black representation only hired white cops, so it's their own fault" then that's pretty offensive...you're yet again trying to make excuses, trying to turn this all into a way of indicting the black community and, most importantly, just grossly irrelevant and acting deliberately obtuse with respect to all the factors that go into creating a racial discrepancy like that between a community and its police force. Ridiculous and ignorant deflection.

    Of course, Faux is already trying to make it all about the New Black Panthers, so get your slop boots on, the GOPers/Teatrolls are about to pile it high and steamy in here.

    August 14, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    smith

    So I see Ferguson has popped up on the Ticker today and as I suspected we have some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. The protests during the day are peaceful but at night there is arson, looting, blunt objects being thrown at police and threats of more violence. The feds are on the case and the facts will come out
    -------------------
    You're lying about people calling the officer a murderer, smith. You're the first. Now, prove me wrong.

    The protests are peaceful until the police show up and start firing at people for exercising their Constitutional right to assemble and protest against the authorities. I thought you were supposed to be the civil liberties guy.

    August 14, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Tony D

    “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting, nor is there an excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protestors,” Obama said in his first on-camera statement since Brown was killed on Saturday.
    --

    When was excessive force EVER used against peaceful protesters in Ferguson??? That is just total BS to throw these rioting, looting arsonists a bone. Just STFU Obama. You're an idiot. Go back to vacationing and golfing, it is all you do well.

    August 14, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    " some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. "

    That's the first time I've seen the word murder used on the Ticker about it, so yeah, you appear to be the only one talking about it.

    August 14, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. smith

    Rudy NYC

    There is one aspect of the shooting that the Ferguson authorities need to answer. Why did he have a shot in the back?

    What news agency is reporting that M. Brown was shot in the back?

    August 14, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Lizzie

    CNN showed reporter who blatantly disobeyed officers when told to leave McDonalds because they are in harms way. Provoking officers to arrest them, yet they believe they are above the law and can do whatever they want.
    Silence.... The Pres. also believes that the Iraqis trapped on the mountain are well cared for and don't need assistance, yet European TV shows them desperate with little food and water in temperatures over a 100.

    August 14, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    smith

    Rudy NYC

    There is one aspect of the shooting that the Ferguson authorities need to answer. Why did he have a shot in the back?

    What news agency is reporting that M. Brown was shot in the back?
    ------------------------------------
    The eye witnesses say that he was shot as he ran away from the vehicle. They have reported that he turned around and dropped to his knees with his hands raised. Police have so far offered no accounting of events during the shooting. They have pretty much only said that there was a struggle for the gun, IN THE POLICE VEHICLE, and the young man was shot during the scuffle.

    Remember his body lay on the ground at least thirty feet away from the police vehicle. I'm sure that you've seen the picture of a sheet covered body in the street, and a police officer's vehicle parked some distance away. If the struggle for the gun took place IN THE VEHICLE, then how could the body wind up so far away from the vehicle? Simple, at some point he ran, walked, or otherwise moved away from the vehicle.

    The vague account of events provided by the police do not explain how the young man wound up SO FAR AWAY from the police vehicle. If he was shot in the vehicle and then moved there after he was shot, then why is there no trail of blood?

    August 14, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    If my arms are raised in the air, why shoot me an additional 3 times?

    August 14, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. smith

    Sniffit

    " some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. "

    That's the first time I've seen the word murder used on the Ticker about it, so yeah, you appear to be the only one talking about it.

    Read between the lines stupid.

    August 14, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    " some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. "

    That's the first time I've seen the word murder used on the Ticker about it, so yeah, you appear to be the only one talking about it.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Wow smith.
    You too huh?

    August 14, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    smith

    Sniffit

    " some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. "

    That's the first time I've seen the word murder used on the Ticker about it, so yeah, you appear to be the only one talking about it.

    Read between the lines stupid.
    -------------------–
    Hmm. Thanks for the heads up. The discussion has been about the protest and the police reactions, smith. I always knew that you had in you, smith.

    August 14, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Reggie53

    Obama has never come forward when an incident like this has happened to any other race other than to a black American. Maybe he is not the president for ALL Americans!!!!!

    August 14, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Smith – Stop reporting like Fox News. If I remember correctly, you took Fox's haphazard reporting on Cliven Bundy, you found Bergdahl guilty without a trial, and you are pushing the death of an unarmed man as justified?

    August 14, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    If the struggle for the gun took place IN THE VEHICLE, then how could the body wind up so far away from the vehicle? Simple, at some point he ran, walked, or otherwise moved away from the vehicle.
    ----------

    This type of scenario happened just this past week near my house. I live near a four lane highway, and when I went out on my deck to have a smoke, I noticed two police cars adjacent to my house. Four officers where standing near one of the cars along with a young white man who had his hands handcuffed behind his back. As one of the officers reached to open the car door, the man took off running across the highway. All four officers shouted for him to stop - which he ignored - and began to run after him wherein all five ended up in the overgrown median between the four lanes of traffic. One officer was hurt, and the young man lay on the ground out of site until the ambulance and another squad car arrived. All four officers remained standing, looking down at the young man laying in the weeds.

    No shots were fired.

    The young man was escorted into the newly arrived police vehicle, the hurt officer treated, and all but the police car with the young man inside left the scene. The young man was taken out of the police car, strapped onto a stretcher, and then pushed into the ambulance, which promptly left the scene with him inside. Or so I suspect he was still inside the ambulance.

    No doubt Ferguson PD would rather that the above scenario had played itself out in the same manner: no shots fired. It didn't, and yes, there needs to be a full accounting of how a young unarmed man got shot; and for what reason he was shot at to begin with.

    August 14, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "" some who have decided the police officer is guilty of murder without any facts about the incident. "

    That's the first time I've seen the word murder used on the Ticker about it, so yeah, you appear to be the only one talking about it.

    Read between the lines stupid."

    No. I'm deliberately not making assumptions, not about what happened and not about what people are saying. Murder pretty loaded accusation and unhelpful until we have all the facts. Witnesses say he was shot in the back and/or with his hands up while turning around...that bodes quite ill for the officer...but it doesn't necessarily make references to those witnesses' statements into an accusation of "murder."

    Actually, I'm still curious if he had a dashboard camera running that might have captured some audio or video.

    August 14, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "When was excessive force EVER used against peaceful protesters in Ferguson??? That is just total BS to throw these rioting, looting arsonists a bone. Just STFU Obama. You're an idiot. Go back to vacationing and golfing, it is all you do well."

    Dude, there's reports of it being excessive coming in from all over the place. Even the journalists from HuffPo and WaPo who were unjustly arrested reported that the McDonald's they were at was completely calm and nothing was going on...same with up and down the street...yet the cops came in, ordered everyone out for no reason, rushed everyone out the door and then got upset with the reporters because packing up their stuff took too long and they didn't like the implication of being watched and reported on. They manhandled them for no reason and even did things like say 'you're resisting" when the reporter put his hands behind him and said "I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting"...they then promptly threw him into the soda machine....all because he was recording them when they emptied the McDonald's. You and I both know...everyone knows...cops HATE when you record them, even though it's perfectly legal. I've even personally seen them throw cameras on the ground and stomp them.

    August 14, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I have tried on several occasions to post the young man's last words.
    CNN has seen fit not to let the post past "moderation".
    What's the matter CNN? Do you think that his last words might illicit UNDUE sympathy from the Usual Suspects on this site?
    Way to "herd" us along.

    August 14, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    and for what reason he was shot at to begin with.
    ----------------------------------------------------–
    He was shot several times Lynda.
    The fatal shot was administered after he asked that they stop shooting as he did not have a gun....
    Your comment:
    ". Four officers where standing near one of the cars along with a young white man who had his hands handcuffed behind his back..."
    Young white man...
    Therein lies the difference Lynda.
    All folks in Ferguson and mothers like me are asking is that our young Black men be treated in the same manner by police officers as that young white man.
    That is just not the case many times by a police force that does not have the same, er, continental looks as the so-called perps.

    August 14, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |