An emotional President Obama declared on Thursday that “all Americans should be troubled” by fatal police shootings this week of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, saying that they were ”symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”
Speaking in Warsaw, and citing statistics that showed that blacks were far more likely to be arrested and shot by police, Mr. Obama asked Americans to try to understand that many people in the country think they are being treated unfairly.
“When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same,” he said. “And that hurts. That should trouble all of us.”
“To be concerned about these issues is not political correctness. It’s just being an American,” Mr. Obama said. “And to recognize the reality that we got some tough history and we haven’t gotten through that history yet.”
The president spoke day after the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota, the grisly aftermath of which was viewed by millions of people who watched the bloody, dying man in a video recorded by his girlfriend and streamed live.
The shooting fit a longstanding pattern of disparate, unfair and even violent treatment of black people, Minnesota’s governor said Thursday.
“Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?” Gov. Mark Dayton asked at a news conference. “I don’t think it would have.”