Obama: Vi­o­lence ‘the wrong way’

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Obama said vi­o­lence is “the wrong way” to protest against po­lice shoot­ings but that he would stay out of the de­bate about spe­cific in­ci­dents this week so as not to in­ter­fere with fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“What we’ve seen over the past sev­eral years is that the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who have been con­cerned about po­lice-com­mu­nity re­la­tions (are) do­ing it the right way. Ev­ery once in a while, you see folks do­ing it the wrong way,” he said.

“Loot­ing, break­ing glass — those things are not go­ing to ad­vance the cause,” he said as Char­lotte was in the midst of three nights of oc­ca­sion­ally vi­o­lent protests af­ter the po­lice shoot­ing of Keith La­mont Scott, 43, an African-Amer­i­can man who po­lice said was hold­ing a gun but which wit­nesses said was a book.

“In Char­lotte, my hope is that in the days to come peo­ple in the com­mu­nity pull to­gether and say, ‘How do we do this the right way?’ ”

Obama spoke to ABC News for an in­ter­view broad­cast Fri­day on He de­clined to speak about any spe­cific case, in­clud­ing Char­lotte or the shoot­ing death of an un­armed African-Amer­i­can mo­torist by a po­lice of­fi­cer in Tulsa, Okla., last week.

As he has in the past, Obama tried to bal­ance the need to cor­rect in­equities in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem — some­thing he said should be a source of con­cern for all Amer­i­cans — with sup­port for po­lice of­fi­cers.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to sep­a­rate out the per­va­sive sense of frus­tra­tion among a lot of African Amer­i­cans about shoot­ings of peo­ple and the sense that jus­tice is not al­ways color blind,” he said. “Po­lice have a re­ally tough job. They’re deal­ing with peo­ple, typ­i­cally, who are not look­ing for­ward to their in­ter­ac­tion with po­lice.”

SEAN RAY­FORD, GETTY IM­AGES

Peo­ple put cargo from trac­tor-trail­ers on a fire on In­ter­state 85 Wed­nes­day in Char­lotte. The protests be­gan af­ter Keith La­mont Scott, 43, was slain.

LAU­REN PETRACCA, GREENVILLE NEWS-USA TO­DAY

Top, pro­test­ers re­act at the scene of a shoot­ing out­side of the Omni Ho­tel in Char­lotte on Wed­nes­day night. One pro­tester died; 44 were ar­rested.

SEAN RAY­FORD, GETTY IM­AGES

Right, po­lice of­fi­cers con­front demon­stra­tors Wed­nes­day. A state of emer­gency was de­clared late that night. By Gre­gory Korte, USA TO­DAY

LAU­REN PETRACCA, GREENVILLE NEWS-USA TO­DAY

A boy holds a sign dur­ing a protest Wed­nes­day at Mar­shall Park in down­town Char­lotte.

LAU­REN PETRACCA, GREENVILLE NEWS-USA TO­DAY

Shel­don Minto, cen­ter, prays with oth­ers dur­ing the vigil Wed­nes­day.

JEFF SINER, AP

A woman dis­plays her hands dur­ing a rally/prayer vigil at Mar­shall Park in Char­lotte on Wed­nes­day, be­fore the vi­o­lence be­gan. An an­gry group left the peace­ful event and marched through down­town.

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