President Obama in an interview broadcast Sunday didn’t rule out visiting Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury reveals whether they decide to indict the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Obama was asked if it would make sense for him to pay the city a visit after the decision is released.
“You know, I’m going to wait and see how the response comes about,” Obama said. “But what does makes sense is for not just me, but my entire administration, to work with willing partners at the state and local level to see how we can address some of these systematic issues.”
The grand jury is set to reconvene on Monday at the earliest, reports said Saturday. A decision was expected over the weekend, but one had not been reached on Friday, at the time of the jury's last meeting.
Obama had previously sent Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderDem rep: Jim Crow's 'nieces and nephews' are in the White House Obama to attend Pittsburgh Steelers owner's funeral Ex-Uber employee who spurred sexual harassment probe to lead new publication MORE to visit Ferguson as protests over Brown’s death embroiled the city and attracted the national spotlight in August.
In the lead-up to the grand jury’s decision, Obama said he’s been in touch with state officials to ensure the same type of violence that ravaged the city in August would not happen again.
“What I’ve done is called Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, to make sure that he has a plan to respond in a careful and appropriate way to any potential violence. To be able to sort out the vast majority of peaceful protesters from the handful who are not,” Obama said.
TV host George Stephanopoulos asked Obama whether he agrees with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) that if the grand jury doesn’t issue an indictment, it would be a miscarriage of justice and a turning point similar to the way Selma, Ala., was in the 1960s civil rights movement.
Obama declined to comment on Lewis’s statement, but suggested the issues in Ferguson can be fixed.
“The kinds of ongoing problems we have with police and communities of color around the country are not of the sort that we saw in Selma,” Obama said. “We’re not talking about systematic segregation or discrimination. They are solvable problems if in fact law enforcement officials are open to the kind of training and best practices that we’ve seen instituted in a lot of parts of the country.”