Protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere have wracked the nation since a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. During meetings with his Cabinet, law enforcement officials and community leaders, President Barack Obama shed some light on how the ongoing rallies throughout the country show Americans' disillusionment, saying he hopes to strengthen neighborhoods and build trust.
“When I hear the young people around this table talk about their experiences, it violates my belief in what America can be to hear young people feeling marginalized and distrustful, even after they’ve done everything right,” he said. “That’s not who we are. And I don’t think that’s who the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to be.”
He shared stories of two people he met from Ferguson who told him they doubted the American government. But Obama said he felt “encouraged” when the people with whom he met said they felt they were being heard.
He then outlined a series of steps he is going to take so communities can regain trust in law enforcement officials. He created a new “task force,” selecting former university Professor Laurie Robinson and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, to come up with ways for communities and police to work together effectively.
The next thing the president wants done is a report on police “militarization.” Images of police wielding military weapons in confrontations with protesters sparked an outcry among civil libertarians and others.
He said he would propose a policy that would require 50,000 more officers to wear body cameras. It would cost $75 million. In all, the president's proposed changes would cost $263 million, a White House fact sheet indicated.
The president finished by saying he would not give up. “And in the two years I have remaining as president, I’m going to make sure that we follow through -- not to solve every problem, not to tear down every barrier of mistrust that may exist, but to make things better,” Obama said. “And that’s how progress is always made in this great country of ours.”
As unrest continued throughout Thanksgiving weekend, various photos were taken of the protesters. Some of the startling images have been posted below:
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