President Barack Obama harshly criticized protesters Tuesday night for the racially charged violence in Ferguson, Missouri, after mayhem erupted after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer who shot a black teenager.
Speaking from Chicago, Obama declared, “To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that. I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”
The President also conveyed his understanding of why citizens were so upset by the outcome of the shooting investigation.
“The frustrations that we’ve seen are not about a particular incident. They have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly,” Obama said.
The President added, “There are productive ways of responding and expressing those frustrations, and there are destructive ways of responding. Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk. That’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts and people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.”
Furguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, during an altercation.
Protesters in Furguson began burning police cars, smashing and looting storefront windows and firing gunshots, shortly after the verdict was read.
Obama added, “My message to those people who are constructively moving forward, trying to organize, mobilize and ask important questions about how we improve the situation, I want all those folks to know that their president is going to work with them.”
Protesters flipped over a police vehicle outside of the Ferguson city hall on Tuesday http://t.co/bHfem7w4fK pic.twitter.com/qbspcpqGEI
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) November 26, 2014
Obama remarked, “The frustrations people have generally are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed. Those who are prepared to work constructively, your president will work with you. So don’t take the short-term, easy route and just engage in destructive behavior.”