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President Obama Speaks On Ferguson, Police Training

(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)

President Barack Obama says he has asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to create a plan for a “careful and appropriate response to any potential violence” that may occur after the grand jury decision in the Darren Wilson case is made public.

Credit (WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)

Speaking Sunday on ABC’s This Week, the president said he doesn’t want a repeat of this past August.

“We saw during the summer the possibility of even overwhelmingly peaceful crowds being overrun by a few thugs,” he explained, adding that he wanted to make sure law enforcement would be able to “sort out the vast majority of peaceful protesters from the handful who are not.”

The president then broadened the lens from Ferguson to national trends on policing.

“What I have confidence in is that if we do a better job of training our law enforcement to be sensitive to the concerns of minority communities, than overtime trust can be built, in part because minority communities typically are subject to more crime,” Obama said.

In an apparent reference to Trayvon Martin, Obama added that many communities actually want an increased police presence — as long as they are trained to know the difference between a "gang-banger and a kid who just happens to be wearing a hoodie."

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter @cmpcamille.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Camille Phillips began working for St. Louis Public Radio in July 2013 as the online producer for the talk shows. She grew up in southwest Missouri and has a Master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia.