Speaking in Chicago on Tuesday, President Obama addressed the rioting that occurred in Ferguson as people reacted to the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting.
Obama admitted that the decision “upset a lot of people” but pointed out that the frustration had “deep roots” in communities of color.
However, the President had stern words for perpetrators of the violence in Ferguson, as protesters burned down businesses, torched vehicles, and vandalized and looted stores.
“To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that,” he said. “I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”
Instead, Obama urged communities to come together for peaceful protest of a more fair police system.
“The problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem,” Obama said.
Obama revealed that he had asked Attorney General Eric Holder to reach out to communities and meet on proposals to make law enforcement “more representative” and “more fair.”
Those who worked for change peacefully, Obama said, would have his full support.
“I want to work with you and move forward with you, your president will be right there with you,” he said. “Let’s be constructive.”