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The President: Some of you may have heard
there was a decision that came out today
by a grand jury not to indict police officers
who had interacted with an individual named Eric Garner
in New York City.
All of which was caught on videotape
and speaks to the larger issues that we've been talking about
now for the last week, the last month, the last year,
and sadly for decades.
And that is the concern on the part of too many
minority communities that law enforcement is not working
with them and dealing with them in a fair way.
And there's going to be -- I'm sure additional
statements by law enforcement.
My tradition is not to remark on cases where there may be
still be an investigation.
But I want everybody to understand that this week
in the wake of Ferguson, we initiated a task force
whose job it is to come back to me with specific recommendations
about how we strengthen the relationship between
law enforcement and communities of color,
and minority communities that feel that bias is taking place.
That we are going to take specific steps to improve
the training and the work with state and local governments
when it comes to policing in communities of color.
That we are going to be scrupulous in investigating
cases where we are concerned about the impartiality
and accountability that's taking place.
And as I said when I met with folks both from Ferguson,
and law enforcement, and clergy, and civil rights activists;
I said this is an issue we've been dealing with for too long
and it's time for us to make more progress than we've made.
And I'm not interested in talk.
I'm interested in action.
And I am absolutely committed as President of the United States
to making sure that we have a country in which
everybody believes in the core principle
that we're equal under the law.
So, I just got off the phone with my
Attorney General Eric Holder.
He will have more specific comments about the
case in New York.
But I want everybody to know here as well as everybody
who may be viewing my remarks here today
-- we are not going to let up until we see a strengthening
of the trust and a strengthening of the accountability
that exists between our communities
and our law enforcement.
And I say that as somebody who believes that law enforcement
has an incredibly difficult job.
That every man or women in uniform are putting their lives
at risk to protect us.
That they have the right to come home just like we do
from our jobs.
That there's real crime out there that they've
got to tackle day in, day out.
But that they're only going to be able to do their job
effectively if everybody has confidence in the system.
And right now unfortunately we are seeing too many instances
where people just do not have confidence
that folks are being treated fairly.
And in some cases those may be misperceptions but in some cases
that's a reality.
And it is incumbent about all of us as American's,
regardless of race, region, faith; that we recognize
this is an American problem not just a black problem
or a brown problem or a Native American problem
this is an American problem.
When anybody in this country is not being treated equally
under the law, that's a problem.
And it's my job as President
to help solve it.
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President Obama Speaks on the Eric Garner Decision

1385 Folder Collection
Halu Hsieh published on December 26, 2014
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