After receiving criticism for his silence on the subject, President Obama commented Tuesday (Aug. 12) on the shooting death of 18-year-old Missouri teen, Mike Brown. The Commander in Chief, and the First Lady Michelle Obama, expressed their heartbreak over the tragedy, and urged the country to “remember this young man through reflecting and understanding.”
In a statement released by the White House, Obama appealed for calm, noting the Department of Justice is investigating the shooting. Brown’s death has set off incidents of rioting and violent confrontations with police, who have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. He said:
“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.”
The officer who shot Brown is on paid administrative leave. Ferguson police have decided not to release his name due to threats made to the department on social media.
Brown, who was expected to start college this past Monday (Aug. 11) is believed to have been shot between two and 10 times.
According to Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was walking with him, the officer pulled up and ordered them to “get the f*ck on the sidewalk.” He then drove ahead almost crashing into them and opened his door, Johnson recalled. “He tried to thrust his door open, but we were so close that it ricocheted off us and bounced back to him, and I guess that got him a little upset,” said the 22-year- old.
Ferguson police claim Brown fought with the officer at his squad car and tried to grab for his gun, but are unable to explain why he was shot some 35 feet away from the vehicle.
In the aftermath, restrictions have been put on media coverage. NBC News reporter, Tom Winter tweeted earlier today, “According to FAA, temporary flight restriction for aircraft flying under 3,000 feet in Fergusen, MO. Essentially eliminating TV newscopters.”
Social media has become the quickest, and loudest, way for the people of Ferguson to be heard without edit.
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