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Obama Wants More Police Funding After Ferguson Unrest

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama is calling for millions of dollars more in federal spending to improve police forces around the country, in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman during a street confrontation in the central town of Ferguson, Missouri.

After meeting at the White House Monday with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials, Obama announced spending proposals of more than $260 million for police forces across the U.S. He also said the country needs an honest conversation about the state of law enforcement.

The president said Americans of color do not feel they are being treated fairly by police, creating what he called a "simmering distrust" in communities and weakening the country.

Protests have continued in Ferguson and elsewhere since a grand jury's decision last week not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Obama said the additional money would pay for 50,000 body cameras for police to wear to record their interactions with civilians, as well as to fund more training for police.

The president also announced he will set up a task force to study how to improve policing.

Obama said federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local police departments must be more accountable, but he did not say whether the programs would be pulled back.

Since August, roughly 300 people have been arrested in Ferguson-related protests, which have been marred by looting and arson attacks. Those arrested face charges of unlawful assembly and trespassing, interfering with police activity and resisting arrest, as well as felonies, including second degree burglary, arson, unlawful firearm possession and assault.

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