President Obama, state leaders call for 'different tone' in Ferguson

President Obama, state leaders call for 'different tone' in Ferguson

President Obama, state leaders call for 'different tone' in Ferguson

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by ABC NEWS

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 14 at 1:20 PM

(ABC NEWS) -- President Obama joined state and national leaders in calling for change in how police are dealing with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, amid continued street clashes five days after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old fatally shot by a local police officer.

"I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson," President Obama said in a news conference this afternoon. "There is never an excuse for violence against police. ... There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force."

Obama's comments came as the FBI confirmed to ABC News that it issued a warning to police officers that a Black Panther leader was trying to incite violence against law enforcement in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

Clashes between protesters and police continued Wednesday night, with reports of Molotov cocktails, tear gas and rubber bullets being used.


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Today, senior leaders began to call for what Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon dubbed, "a different tone." Both Nixon and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said the police need to change how it handles the protests.

“We need to de-militarize this situation," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said today in a written statement. "This kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution. I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right. Today is going to be a new start, we can and need to do better.”

Nixon spoke to a group in a church hinting that a larger announcement will come later today about "operational shifts" that have yet to be announced.

"We also need to allow folks who want to express their energy in an appropriate way that absolute right to do that because we will not get the healing that we all need if the only response from the public is 'Y'all just be quiet.' There is a certain level of emotion that needs to be expressed in order for us to reach a higher plane," Nixon said.

In spite of the suggested changes to police protocols, protests were expected to continue today, with Black Panther members saying they will be holding a march in the St. Louis suburb.

The FBI previously issued a warning about the presence in the area of Chawn Kweli, who it identified as the chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party, Cheryl Mimura, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis FBI field office, told ABC News. The FBI alert was not publicly released but was circulated among law enforcement groups as an officer safety warning.

Obama first addressed the issue on Tuesday when he released a statement saying that Department of Justice was investigating Brown's death alongside local officials.

"I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding," President Obama said Tuesday as he took time off from a vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

"We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve."

President Obama was not the only politician slated to speak on the issue today. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was expected to hold a news conference this afternoon.

For more stories from ABC News click here.

 

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