President Barack Obama has jumped into the racial showdown in Ferguson, Mo., by releasing a statement about the death of Michael Brown, who died Aug. 9 after an altercation with police.
The incident sparked shootings, looting, arson and cries of police brutality by a series of African-American political actors, including Al Sharpton. (RELATED: Al Sharpton Calls For Peace And Federal Investigation Of Black Teen’s Shooting Death)
It has also prompted numerous comparisons to the death of Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent trial and acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman.
That controversy was boosted by African-American leaders, including Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and it helped increase African-American turnout in 2012. In March 2012, eight months before the November election, Obama used a Rose Garden press event to declare, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Obama released the Ferguson statement while on vacation in Massachusetts, 12 weeks before a critical midterm election where relatively few of Obama’s African-Americans supporters are expected to vote.
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time,” Obama said in a 4:34 p.m. statement.
“As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed,” Obama said.
But Obama also took care to distance himself from the televised looting and arson in Ferguson. (RELATED: FAA Issues Flight Restriction After Rioters Fired ‘Multiple Times’ At Police Helicopter)
“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” he said.
“We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” he said. “Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve,” Obama said. (RELATED: News Photographer Needed His War Gear To Cover Missouri Riot Following Police Shooting)