Following the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in two separate police shootings, President Obama has released a statement saying Americans “should be deeply troubled” by the incidents.
In a statement released by the White House Thursday (July 7), the President emphasized that “these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents.”
The shooting of Sterling, a 37-year-old black man killed by Baton Rouge police earlier this week, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Regarding Castile, Minnesota’s governor called for a federal investigation of the shooting death, which took place during a traffic stop.
Both deaths were recorded and shared online, sparking outrage among many.
In the statement, Obama said that “to admit we’ve got a serious problem” does not contradict any respect or appreciation for police officers.
“As a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement”, he said. “Regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.”
Obama goes on to say that people need to recognize the “anger, frustration and grief that so many Americans are feeling” and expressing through peaceful protests and vigils nationwide.
“Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let’s reflect on what we can do better. Let’s come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter,” the President said.