President Barack Obama briefly emerged from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to reassure Americans that he’s tracking the war in Iraq and the urban clash in Ferguson, Mo.
“Now is the time for healing, now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson, and time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done,” he said about the Ferguson clash.
His statement simultaneously sought to reassure many Americans horrified by the shooting and by the subsequent rioting and violent clashes with police. (RELATED: Is This America? Stunning Photos From Violent Protests In Ferguson, Mo.)
Obama said he’s asked the attorney general and the local federal attorney to investigate the Aug. 9 shooting of a local man, Michael Brown, which touched off several night of arson and protests. Officials “will be reporting to me in a couple of days,” Obama said.
Brown “was 18 years old, and his family will never hold Michael in their arms again,” he said. “When something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent in how they are investigating that death.”
He rebuked the rioters, whose actions complicated the media’s initial description of the incident, which emphasized the apparent innocence of the dead youth. “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as cover for vandalism or looting,” he said. (RELATED: John Lewis Calls On Obama To Declare Martial Law In Ferguson, Mo.)
He also criticized the local police force’s combative response to the rioting and to peaceful protests. “There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against protesters, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” he said.
Obama began the statement by declaring that U.S. forces had accomplished their mission to aid tens of thousands of Iraq’s Yazidi people who had fled to a nearby desert mountain to escape attacks by a jihadi army, dubbed the Islamic State (IS). (RELATED: Obama Golfs, Lets Biden Do Foreign Policy)
“Because of the skill and professionalism of our military, and the generosity of our people, we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar, we helped vulnerable people reach safety, and we helped save many innocent lives,” he said.