US President Barack Obama attends
a press conference during the second day of a NATO Summit at the Polish
National Stadium in Warsaw on July 9, 2016. (photos by AFP)
week’s stunning violence is a signal that the US has returned to some of
the darkest days of its past, saying that as painful as the killings of
police and black men were, “America is not as divided as some have
“Americans of all races and all backgrounds are
rightly outraged by the inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in
Dallas or anyplace else,” Obama said from Warsaw, where he attended a
“That includes protesters,” Obama added. “It
includes family members who have grave concerns about police conduct and
they’ve said that this is unacceptable. There’s no division there.”
Protesters march through the streets of
Detroit as they rally against recent shootings involving police officers
of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the shooting in Dallas.
Photo / AP
The comments marked the third time in as many days that
Obama has spoken, from a distance, about the police-involved fatal
shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota that were followed by a
sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers Thursday
Seven officers and two civilians were also injured.
“This has been a tough week,” the president said.
said the Dallas shooter, a black Army veteran who was later killed by
police, was a “demented individual” who does not represent black
Americans, any more than a white man accused of killing blacks at a
church in Charleston, South Carolina, represents whites.
said he would visit Dallas “in a few days” to pay respects and mourn
with the stricken Texas city. The shootings, and the ensuing protests in
some US cities that followed, led to an uncharacteristic response from
the president: He cut his five-day, two-country European trip to four
Obama still planned to go ahead with his first
visit as president to Spain and was to arrive late Saturday in Madrid,
the capital. But he has scrapped a stop in the southern city of Seville
and will cram two days of events into one, including meetings with
interim President Mariano Rajoy and a visit with US sailors stationed at
a naval base in Rota.
In his news conference before departing
Poland, Obama said that while “there is sorrow, there is anger, there is
confusion” in the U.S., “there’s unity in recognizing that this is not
how we want our communities to operate. This is not who we want to be as
Americans and that serves as the basis for us being able to move
forward in a constructive and positive way.”
“So we cannot let the actions of a few define all of us,” he said.
president said he planned to convene a White House meeting in coming
days with police officers, community and civil rights activists and
others to talk about next steps. He said the “empathy and understanding”
that Americans have shown in responding to the events of the past few
days, including Dallas police officers even as they came under attack,
had given him hope.
Dallas police officers comfort each other in
Dallas in front of police cars decorated as a public memorial in front
of police headquarters. Photo / AP
“That’s the spirit that we all need to embrace,” Obama said. “That’s the spirit that I want to build on.”
Obama, who has angered his political opponents after every deadly mass
shooting by calling for tighter gun laws, made clear that he will
continue to speak out about the need for such measures, which the
Republican-controlled Congress has refused to go along with. He said the
US is unique among advanced countries in terms of the scale of violence
that it experiences.
Obama also tried to calm public anxiety about personal safety, saying violent crime is actually down in the U.S.
am going to keep on talking about the fact that we cannot eliminate all
racial tension in our country overnight,” he said. “We are not going to
be able to identify, ahead of time, and eliminate every madman or
troubled individual who might want to do harm against innocent people.
But we can make it harder for them to do so.”
Obama said US history was not repeating itself, and rejected the notion that a 1960s-style mindset had returned.
not seeing riots and you’re not seeing police going after people who
are protesting peacefully,” he said. “You’ve seen almost uniformly
peaceful protests and you’ve seen, uniformly, police handling those
protests with professionalism.”
“So as tough, as hard, as
depressing as the loss of life was this week, we’ve got a foundation to
build on,” Obama said. “We just have to have confidence that we can
build on those better angels of our nature.”
President Barack Obama has urged Americans not to view the US as
divided into opposing groups in a bid to pacify intense emotions after
recent killing of five Dallas police officers by a gunman in apparent
retaliation for persistent police brutality against African Americans
across the country.
of all, as painful as this week has been, I firmly believe that America
is not as divided as some have suggested,” Obama said during a press
conference at a NATO summit in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday.
we start suggesting that somehow there’s this enormous polarization,
and we’re back to the situation in the ’60s, that’s just not true,” He
noted. “You’re not seeing riots, and you’re not seeing police going
after people who are protesting peacefully.”
The remarks came after five white police officers were gunned down by a black man, identified as former US Army Reserve soldier Micah Johnson, during a protest rally on Thursday.
sit along Market Street in San Francisco, California, on July 08, 2016
to denounce recent police shootings around the country.
march was sparked by the latest shooting deaths of African American men
by police in the northern state of Minnesota and the southern state of
Dallas police chief
David Brown said Johnson had told a negotiator that he wanted to kill
white people, especially white police officers, because he was angry
about the recent shootings of black men by police.
the first ever black president in US history, further stated that
“Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the
inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in Dallas or any place
The US president, who is
cutting short his European trip on Sunday to visit the city of Dallas,
also asserted that Americans are rightly troubled and enraged by the
latest police killings of two more unarmed black men and about “the
larger, persistent problem of African-Americans and Latinos being
treated differently in our criminal justice system.”