News / USA

    Obama Urges Calm as Shooting Protests Continue

    • Riot police stand guard as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri Aug. 13, 2014.
    • Riot police stop a vehicle as they clear a street of demonstrators, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 13, 2014.
    • Riot police clear a street with smoke bombs while clashing with demonstrators, in Ferguson, Missouri Aug. 13, 2014.
    • Lesley McSpadden (right), mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, watches as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds a family picture, during a news conference, Aug. 11, 2014.
    • A man watches as police walk through a cloud of smoke during a clash with protesters, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 13, 2014.
    • A protester wears a sign on his back during a protest against the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 13, 2014.
    Luis Ramirez

    President Barack Obama is calling for peace and calm as protests continue following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the U.S. state of Missouri.  

    The protests escalated to the point Thursday that President Obama took time from his vacation to express his concern about the racial violence that erupted in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer.

    “Now is the time for healing.  Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson," said President Obama.

    Since the August 9 shooting, protesters have taken to the streets and clashed with police, who have used tear gas and smoke bombs to quell the unrest.  Police officials say they did so after some of the demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at them.

    In his remarks Thursday, the president called on both sides to show restraint.
     
    “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights," said Obama.

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans the right to free speech.

    Obama criticized police following the arrest of two news reporters who were covering the demonstrations.

    “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people what they see on the ground," he said.

    There are conflicting reports on how Michael Brown was killed.  Police say the black teenager was shot while struggling with an officer.  A witness says Brown had his arms up when the police officer shot him.

    President Obama has asked federal authorities to conduct an independent investigation.

     

     

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    Comments
         
    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
    August 16, 2014 12:57 PM
    Instead of a white police officer, if that shooting incident would've involved a black one, this sort of riotings wouldn't have developed. Our federal police dept. of the state of Missouri , the police chief should pacify our people involved in the unrest, that would behove well.No racial discrimination should take its ugly color in America.

    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
    August 15, 2014 9:30 AM
    The shooting of Michael Brown must be investigated impartially without any racial bias. While a police officer shoots somebody, that'a white or a black one, there does remain legal reasons. Instead of Michael Brown of the black communinity, if a white one would've been shot instead, if this sort of chaos and demonstrations the blacks would've resorted? Certainly not.

    by: hfr. FAther Moe from: missouri
    August 14, 2014 5:42 PM
    Before the St. Louis Co. Police attacked members of the media yesterday in Ferguson, Missouri, they foreshadowed their intent to target the press and suppress the First Amendment by aiming their guns at unarmed reporters.

    VOA, could care less, and has done ZERO reporting. FACT!!!


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