President Obama has released an official statement about the recent shooting of unarmed black teen Mike Brown, expressing condolences and urging calm in Brown's suburban St. Louis community. Obama had been heavily criticized after remaining mum about Brown's death but issuing a tribute to beloved actor/comedian Robin Williams, who committed suicide on Monday.
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in-between,” Obama’s tribute read.
But many were asking why the president had been silent on the apparent injustice of Brown’s death until now. Brown, 18, was gunned down by a police officer in suburban St. Louis on Saturday, days before he was to begin college. While details surrounding his death remain unclear, police confirmed that Brown was unarmed when he was shot and killed during an altercation on a street in Ferguson, Missouri. Witnesses have said the unidentified officer, now on leave, was white, making the case similar to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by volunteer community watchman George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. Obama also waited a number of days before weighing in on the killing of Martin in February 2012, before saying, in part, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." A vigil for Brown on Sunday was followed by protests and the looting of several shops.
On Tuesday, the White House issued the following statement on the shooting death of Mike Brown:
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”