President Obama will dispatch Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson, Missouri, this week, the president announced Monday afternoon in a press conference. Holder will meet with Department of Justice and FBI investigators who currently have separate and ongoing probes open into the police shooting death of African-American teen Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
While the majority of Obama’s prepared remarks were a regurgitation of his remarks on the situation last week, he did address the plight of young black men and their lack of trust in the criminal justice system. “In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” Obama said.
Asked by ABC News reporter Ann Compton about whether Obama would consider going to Ferguson himself or doing anything more, personally, to addres the crisis in Ferguson, Obama basically said no, because he has to be careful about not “prejudging these events before investigations are completed.”
“Obviously we’ve seen events in which there’s a big gulf between community expectations and law enforcement perceptions aroun the country. This is not something new,” he said. “It’s always tragic when it involves the death of someone so young.”
“Part of the ongoing challenge of perfecting our union has involved dealing with communities that feel left behind, who as a consequence of tragic histories often find themselves isolated, often find themselves without hope, without economic prosepcts,” Obama continued. “You have young men of color in many communities who are more likley to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college. Part of my job that I can do without any potential conflicts is to get at those root causes. Now, that’s a big project. It’s one that we’ve been trying to carry out now for a couple of centuries.”
Citing the work of My Brother’s Keeper, the White House initiative to support boys and young men of color, Obama said that part of that work ought to begin by making sure that the criminal justice system upholds “the basic principle of everybody is equal before the law.”