Obama: Violence ‘the wrong way’
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.”
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.
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.
Right, police officers confront demonstrators Wednesday. A state of emergency was declared late that night. By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
A boy holds a sign during a protest Wednesday at Marshall Park in downtown Charlotte.
Sheldon Minto, center, prays with others during the vigil Wednesday.
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.