Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

President, Other Leaders Urge Calm after Ferguson Grand Jury Decision; FERGUSON DECISION: PRESIDENT OBAMA RESPONDS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

President, Other Leaders Urge Calm after Ferguson Grand Jury Decision; FERGUSON DECISION: PRESIDENT OBAMA RESPONDS

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * President Barack Obama said the nation should accept the Ferguson grand jury's decision in the Michael Brown shooting.

But he also said he understood why many are upset, viewing it as part of the legacy of bad relations between police and minority communities that must be improved.

In a short address from the White House, Obama urged Americans to heed Michael Brown's father's plea to avoid violence and seek long- term solutions to problems between police and minority communities.

"Michael Brown's parents have lost more than anyone," Obama said shortly after it was announced that Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown, 18. "We should be honoring their wishes.

"This is not just an issue for Ferguson," Obama said. "We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. I have witnessed that in my own life and to deny that is progress is to deny America's capacity for change.

"But what is also true is that there are still problems" and people "aren't just making these problems up."

The president added that Americans must "try to figure out how to make progress" but that that won't be accomplished "by throwing bottles...smashing car windows" or "using this as an excuse to vandalize property. And it certainly won't be done by hurting anybody."

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St.. Louis, who has been critical of the grand jury process and St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, called the decision "extremely disappointing, but not unexpected."

Referencing ongoing Justice Department investigations, he added in a statement: "The pursuit of justice for Michael Brown Jr., and his family is not over."

Clay said that Attorney General Eric Holder "has assured me that the ongoing federal investigations will be extensive, vigorous, and will follow the facts, wherever they lead. …

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