President Barack Obama dismissed the recent violence and destruction in Charlotte, North Carolina by rioters reacting to the shooting of an armed African-American man by an African-American police officer.
“The overwhelming majority of people who have been concerned about police-community relations [are] doing it the right way,” Obama said. “Every once in a while you see folks doing it the wrong way. Looting, breaking glass, those things are not going to advance the cause.”
Obama made his comments during an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts at the brand new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
He argued that Americans should recognize that there was a real problem in the justice system that the protestors in Charlotte were reacting to.
“I think it’s important to separate out the pervasive sense of frustration among a lot of African Americans about shootings of people and the sense that justice is not always color blind,” he said.
Obama suggested that protestors would be more effective if they were peaceful.
“The way we change the system requires to be able to reach out and engage the broader American community and that requires being peaceful, that requires being thoughtful about what are the specific reforms you’re looking for,” he advised.
Obama’s comments are markedly different than his condemnation of the damage caused by rioting protestors in Baltimore in April, calling them “criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”