Politics

Barack Obama On Police, Race Issues: It Shouldn't Be 'Us' Versus 'Them'

| by Kathryn Schroeder
President Barack Obama.President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama came to the defense of scrutinized police officers during a speech on Oct. 27.

"Too often, law enforcement gets scapegoated for the broader failures of our society and criminal justice system," Obama said during an address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IAACP) in Chicago, Illinois, the Associated Press reports.

"I know that you do your jobs with distinction no matter the challenges you face," he added. "That's part of wearing the badge."

Obama’s comments come during a national debate surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, which began after the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers in multiple states over the past year. The movement has called into question the treatment of citizens by police officers.

During a panel discussion on Oct. 22 at the White House, Obama defended the Black Lives Matter Movement, saying it was not anti-police, Breitbart reported.

“Sometimes, like any of these loose organizations, some people pop off and say dumb things,” Obama said at the panel.

Obama added that the movement was not meant to be seen as geared towards one race, but all people.

“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” he said.

“I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘black lives matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter,” Obama added.

In Chicago, Obama went on to say that police and communities must work together, not as separate entities, AP reports.

"I reject any narrative that seeks to divide police and communities they serve — that frames any discussion of public safety around 'us' and 'them,'" Obama said. "A narrative that too often gets served up to us by cable news seeking ratings, tweets seeking retweets, or political candidates seeking some attention."

Sources: AP via Fox 29, Breitbart / Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr, CNN/MGN via Fox 29