President Obama hosted a series of interviews with YouTube personalities, including an interview with Adande Thorne, known as “sWooZie” on the internet.
Thorne, who has created videos discussing the difficulties of “driving while black,” asked the president how to combat police officers who continued to profile African-Americans.
Here was his question:
As a black male who wears his hat backwards from time to time – I get racially profiled … I get harassed often. I’ve learned to live with the harassment but people are dying now. I can’t sit by and let that happen. My thing to you is, I feel like law enforcement – they’re just bullies with badges at this point. They get caught on camera, they’re killing people, and they go to the court a lot, and they get off without a lot of consequences, so I really want to know, is accountability – what can you do with your time left? What can the government do with the time left because these guys are going through and killing people and it’s just like, I think they’re developing a Superman complex.
President Obama did not condemn the YouTube star’s remarks, instead pointing out that he identified with his struggle.
“I’m a black man who sometime wears his hat backwards,” Obama said, adding that he was also stopped by police officers when he was younger for reasons that weren’t very clear.
He added that it was important not to “generalize” about police officers, insisting that the overwhelming number of them were doing their job correctly, but admitted that there were problems within the law enforcement community in the United States.
“It is absolutely true that there’s always been pockets of police misconduct around the country, and we have to take that seriously,” Obama said.
He pointed out that the situation wasn’t new – citing African-Americans who have suffered mistreatment from police officers since the 1950s.
“It’s not that the situation has gotten worse, its that our awareness has increased,” Obama said.
Obama talked at length about his White House task force, which he put together to prevent police mistreatment of ethic Americans.