TIME White House

President Obama on Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Shootings: ‘All Americans Should Be Deeply Troubled’

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the deployment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the White House on July 6, 2016.
Win McNamee—Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the deployment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the White House on July 6, 2016.

"These fatal shootings are not isolated incidents"

President Obama said “all Americans should be deeply troubled” by the recent police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in a statement released by the White House Thursday, emphasizing 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. Minnesota’s governor called for a federal investigation into the shooting death of Castile Thursday, a black Minnesota man who was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop. Both deaths were recorded in videos that have since circulated widely.

In the statement, Obama said that “to admit we’ve got a serious problem” does not contradict any respect or appreciation for police officers. Rather, the President said it accepts that “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 mentioned recommendations from the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing as a guide for law enforcement reform. The task force was created after grand juries in New York and Ferguson, Mo., declined to charge two white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.

“Regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents,” Obama said in the statement. “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 urged people 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.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team