Watch President Obama speak on the situation in Baltimore. http://t.co/T3t6ptxmaZ— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 28, 2015
On April 12, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old native of Baltimore, was arrested by the city’s police. He died a week later.
The Department of Justice is now investigating the events that led to his death and today, President Obama offered his thoughts to the family and friends of Freddie Gray who are appropriately looking for answers while at the same time making clear there is “no excuse” for violence.
He noted that events in Baltimore called attention to the urgent need throughout the country to build trust between communities and their police.
“We have some soul-searching to do. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades.” – President Obama
“This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.” —President Obama addressing the situation in Baltimore http://t.co/Fr3Aa6ZrrP— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 28, 2015
“This has been going on for a long time,” the President said. “This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new. The good news is that perhaps there’s some newfound awareness, because of social media and video cameras and so forth, that there are problems and challenges when it comes to how policing and our laws are applied in certain communities and we have to pay attention to it.”
“If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could -- it’s just that it would require everybody saying, ‘This is important, this is significant.’” – President Obama
“Don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns” —President Obama on the situation in Baltimore http://t.co/08a4vtoXe1— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 28, 2015
Every American has role to play in tackling this longstanding challenge. "We don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped," the President said. We should be “paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they’re important and that they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.”
That is why President Obama is committed to promoting policies that would make a difference on unemployment, poverty, and other serious social challenges that continue to afflict too many communities across the country.
The President is also working with police departments and community leaders to implement recommendations from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing to help build trust between communities and law enforcement while maintaining public safety. From adopting new technologies to build trust to prioritizing de-escalation and avoiding provocative tactics to enhancing officer safety and wellness, these recommendations can begin to build a culture of trust that is needed to promote safety and justice in every community and for every individual, no matter who they are.