President Barack Obama has shared his thoughts on the riots that have erupted in Baltimore following the tragic death of Freddie Gray.
During a press conference earlier today, President Obama condemned the looting and mayhem that some protestors unleashed upon the city yesterday afternoon. According to The Huffington Post, he noted that we have seen this type of behavior before. “This is not new,” he said. “And we shouldn’t pretend this is new.”
Although he does not condone what has happened, he said it has brought to national attention some issues that many have tried to sweep under the rug. Still he made sure to point out how these actions aren’t doing anything but hurting their own communities. As he told reporters:
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday,” he said. “It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building they’re committing arson, and they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunities from people in that area.”
The rioting we’ve seen over the last few days is only part of the story, though. The president called out the mainstream media for doing a great disservice to the people of Baltimore by portraying all of the protestors as “thugs” ransacking the city in the midst of all this turmoil.
In fact, up until Saturday, there had been peaceful protests as people marched through the streets. With very few exceptions, those demonstrators had managed to get their point across without violence.
“They were constructive and they were thoughtful,” said the president accusing many news outlets of favoring the more sensational aspects of these protests as opposed to being objective in their coverage. “And frankly it didn’t get much attention. And one burning building will be looped on television… and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way have been lost in the discussion.”
And he finished up his comments by stating what many in the Black community have been saying in the own homes and discussing on social media ever since Darren Wilson got off the hook for murdering Michael Brown.
Since Ferguson and the task force that we put together, we have seen too many incidences of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals — primarily African-American, often poor — in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up, it seems like, once a week now. Or once every couple of weeks. So I think its pretty understandable why the leaders of civil rights organizations, but more importantly moms and dads, might start saying this is a crisis. What I’d say is this has been a slow rolling crisis.”
Well said, Mr. President.