FERGUSON, Mo. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama appealed for “peace and calm” in Ferguson and said there is no excuse for the use of excessive force by police and no excuse for violence against the police.
The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday has sparked protests in the St. Louis suburb. Some have turned violent.
He also said police shouldn’t be arresting and bullying journalists who are doing their jobs. Two reporters were taken into custody and briefly jailed Wednesday evening in the St. Louis suburb.
“I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened,” Obama said in his first in-person remarks about the situation. “But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family, we are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests.”
Obama, speaking from the Massachusetts island where he’s on a two-week vacation, said he wants an open and transparent investigation of Brown’s shooting death, so that justice is done. He said he had asked the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the incident.
The president said he had also spoken Thursday morning with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who has faced criticism for not doing more to control the violence. Obama defended the Democratic governor calling him “a good man, a fine governor.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio made clear he’s not up on the specifics of the Brown case, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
“Some of the images are certainly troubling,” de Blasio said.