FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — President Barack Obama says the deadly shootings by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana are not isolated incidents. He says the U.S. has a "serious problem."
Obama reacted to the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in a Facebook post Thursday and later that day in a speech at a hotel in Warsaw, Poland ahead of a NATO summit. He says all Americans should be "deeply troubled."
He says all fair-minded people in the U.S. should be concerned about the problem of frequent police shootings of black people.
Obama said in the Warsaw speech that statistics show disparities about how African-Americans and Hispanics are treated by police.
He says America must say "we're better than this." He says it's not just a black or Hispanic issue.
Obama says when incidents like this occur, many Americans feel it's because they're not being treated the same. He says, "That hurts."
The president says he has respect for the vast majority of police officers, but stating that "Black Lives Matter" does not in conflict with saying "Blue Lives Matter."
"This isn't a matter of us comparing the value of lives. This is recognizing that there's a particular burden that is being place on a group … and we should care about that," he said.
Obama says the incidents are symptoms of broader challenges in the criminal justice system. He says they reflect racial disparities that persist "year after year." Obama says that's created a lack of trust between law enforcement officers and their communities.
Obama says he's limited in what he can say about the cases. But he says he's "encouraged" the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the Louisiana incident.
But Obama also says the U.S. must show respect and appreciation for police.
Read President Barack Obama's Full Facebook Post Below:
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