White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest signals that the federal government – and the Justice Department – will not take a central role in the chaos following the riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in local police custody.
During the White House press briefing today, Earnest was asked whether newly sworn in Attorney General Loretta Lynch would make the Gray case her top priority. But instead of tough talk, Earnest spent more time emphasizing the importance of allowing local officials to handle the case.
Earnest explained that, although the federal government would “encourage cooperation” between different parties in local communities, it was “primarily a local issue.”
“Ultimately this is a problem that the federal government is not going to be able to solve,” he said. “It’s going to require the commitment of local elected officials, local enforcement leaders and the people in communities across the country.”
Earnest added that although the Department of Justice would consider the case a “priority” it was only one on a long list of priorities for the department.
He added that the department would continue the investigation of the case that began under former Attorney General Eric Holder, but refrained from commenting on the details of the ongoing investigation.