*President Obama on Thursday delivered a statement about the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri, where a militarized police force has been firing rubber bullets and spraying tear gas at residents peacefully protesting the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot to death Aug. 9 by a police officer.
“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism and looting,” Obama said from Martha’s Vineyard, where he has been on vacation. “There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.
Obama also referred to the journalists who either harassed or arrested by police Wednesday night, including reportersfor the Huffington Post, the Washington Post and Al Jazeera.
“Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they are seeing on the ground,” Obama said. “Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.”
The remarks were his most extensive to date on the clashes, which started on Sunday. Obama made the statement from the media work space in Edgartown, trading in the traditional scenic vacation backdrop for the sober visual of him standing in front an American flag and a blue curtain.
Obama issued a statement earlier this week, calling Brown’s death “heartbreaking.” On Thursday, he put the tragedy in context:
“Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances,” said Obama. “He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.”
Watch a CNN report below: