Obama addresses xenophobic police killings
Religious, entertainment, sports figures outraged by killing of 2 Black men in 48 hours.
Esra Kaymak Avci - WASHINGTON (AA) – Separate deadly shootings of black men by white police officers in different states just hours apart this week is “symptomatic of the broader challenges within out criminal justice system,” President Barack Obama said Thursday.
In a short written statement, Obama said “these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents” but admitting a problem exists does not detract from the “respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line.”
The statement from the president comes just hours after Philando Castile, 31, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in St. Paul, Minnesota. Video recoding moments after he was shot was live-streamed by his girlfriend who said Castile did nothing wrong and was reaching for documents requested by the police officer when he was shot.
Castile’s death was on the heels of another shooting, that of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was selling CDs outside of a convenience store early Tuesday before an encounter with two white officers turned deadly. The Justice Department has opened an investigation into that case.
Obama said he his wife, Michelle, shared the “anger, frustration and grief” expressed by so many following the killings.
Along with the frustration expressed by the Obamas, social media has erupted outrage about the killings.
Min. Louis Farrakhan, who leads the Nation of Islam group said via Twitter that “rogue” police officers in every U.S. city who "use their badges as a license to kill. This has reached the point of explosion." Farrakhan has called for blacks to police their own communities.
NFL running back Mark Ingram II, who plays games just outside of the city where Sterling was killed, tweeted that social media posts are inadequate to address the killings.
“Hashtags aren't enough. Justice for _____ isn't enough. We have to stop this together. We have to love and respect each other. This is cray,” he said using slang for crazy.
Biracial movie star Rashida Jones also used her Twitter account to voice her views.
"If ur in my replies masking your racism w "logic" or victim blaming, I'm not here for it. A black man was murdered. Again. #AltonSterling," the star of The Social Network movie said.
Democrat presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton also voiced concerns for the trend of blacks being gunned down by white police.
"The violence that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile has become an all too common occurrence for people of color and IT. MUST. STOP," Sanders said.
Disgusted with the shootings, one black female police officer in Ohio posted a seven-minute long video on Facebook in which she said she is angry to see a police officer kill an unarmed man just because of the victim's skin color.
Nakia Jones said she became a police officer to become the change that she wanted to see.
Moved to tears, she said she knows black police officers who would give up their own lives to save others, without regard to race.
"How dare you stand next to me in the same uniform and murder somebody," the mother of six said, referring to officer who killed Sterling.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You are afraid of people that don't like you. You have no business in that uniform. Take it off," she said.
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