The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, has escalated beyond what anyone ever anticipated.
The governor of Missouri has now ordered St. Louis County Police to leave, which will allow state and federal officials to move in. Accordingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice will likely get involved. At present, Ferguson looks more like a war zone.
President Obama just made a public statement on the issue. He highlighted that the images coming out of Ferguson are deeply disturbing and that he is concerned about the violence.
The president also stressed that we need to find a reasonable way to move forward in this situation. Accordingly, he has been consulting with the governor of Missouri, Attorney General Eric Holder, the DOJ and the FBI.
Obama made it clear he wants to ensure that peaceful protests are allowed, as the First Amendment of the US Constitution specifically protects Freedom of Assembly.
Thus far, police in Ferguson have not properly respected that right, which the president acknowledged.
The governor of Missouri recently ordered St. Louis County Police to vacate the area, in order make room for state and federal officials to move in.
President Obama reiterated that we want to find out exactly what happened in order to ensure that justice is done. Likewise, Obama stated:
It's appropriate to remember how this started... We lost a young man... His family will never hold Michael in their arms again.
The police have been incredibly excessive in their response to both protestors and the media, but the president emphasized that public safety must be maintained in a more appropriate way.
There is no excuse for police to use excessive force against protestors... The police should not be bullying journalists.
At the same time, Obama also condemned violent attacks on the police, highlighting that this does nothing to improve the situation.
Moreover, he stressed the need for openness and transparency surrounding the investigation, particularly on behalf of the police, highlighting the importance of accountability in this situation.
President Obama finished by stating that equality is an American value, and that we must remember we are all part of one American family.
Now's the time for healing, peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.
The situation remains extreme, and it's imperative people continue to follow closely as federal officials take over and the investigation continues.
Photo Credit: Getty Images