President Barack Obama gave a statement on the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police from Warsaw, Poland earlier today
The President made it clear that he couldn’t comment on the details of the shootings, but did offer his concern and used statistics to educate those listening on the issue of systemic racism. “All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system,” he said. Obama then went on to give some statistics to prove his point. “African Americans are 30 percent more likely that whites to be pulled over. After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched. Last year, African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites. African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites. African American defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offensives, carrying mandatory minimums. They receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime,” he said.
Obama said this is not just an issue for Blacks and Hispanics, but for all Americans and that every person in the U.S. should be “concerned” about. He also made sure not to place the blame solely on police officers, and proposed introducing practices that will rebuild the trust between law enforcement and communities. Rebuilding this trust will help police solve crimes, according to the President. Before closing out his speech, the President gave his thoughts on how Americans should react to the recent events. “I hope we don’t fall into the typical patterns that occur after these kinds of incidents where there’s a lot of political rhetoric and it starts dividing people instead of bringing folks together. To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement…When people say ‘Black Lives Matter’ that doesn’t mean Blue Lives don't Matter, it just means ‘All Lives Matter’ but right now the big concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn’t a matter of comparing the values of lives, this is recognizing that there’s a particular burden that’s being placed on a group of our fellow citizens, and we should care about that. “
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