President Obama on Monday lamented the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., saying the episode showcased the distrust that minorities in many communities have of their local police officers.
“In too many communities around the country, the gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement,” Obama said, weighing in on the raging controversy. “In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.”
The Ferguson shooting has led to many nights of violent clashes between police and protesters, with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon calling in the National Guard to address the situation. Nixon on Monday lifted a curfew that had been in place the last two nights in Ferguson.
Despite their anger over the death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was shot to death by local police, Obama said protesters had no right to use violence against police or loot area stores.
"Let's seek to heal rather than to wound each other,” the president said.
Obama’s remarks came after an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently ordered a second autopsy on the Missouri teenager. Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with local officials.
Protesters have claimed the shooting was racially motivated, while supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, say he acted in self-defense.
The president also addressed U.S. efforts to stem the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq.
Iraqi and Kurdish forces Monday recaptured the Mosul Dam, following a series of U.S. airstrikes to force Islamic State fighters out of the area.
“If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic,” Obama said, hailing the development.