President Barack Obama once again addressed a grand jury’s decision to not indict the Ferguson police officer who shot unarmed teen Michael Brown, saying he has “no sympathy” for those who erupted in violence following the announcement.
“To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that,” Obama said during a speech at Chicago’s Copernicus Community Center, where he was slated to discuss his executive action on immigration. “And I don’t have any sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”
Obama commended those who peacefully gathered to address the decision and said he plans to work with those activists.
“The frustrations people have, generally, those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed,” he said. “Those who are prepared to work constructively, your President will work with you.”
He also noted that he assigned Attorney General Eric Holder to set up regional meetings focused on “building trust in our communities.” Next week, Obama plans to gather state and local officials, law enforcement agencies, and community and faith leaders to “identify specific steps we can take to make sure that law enforcement is fair and is being applied equally to every person in this country.”
“The problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we are actually bringing about change.”
But that change, he emphasized, does not come from violence.
“I’ve never seen a civil rights law or a healthcare bill or an immigration bill result because a car got burned,” he said.