Attorney general condemns violence in Ferguson
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Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday condemned overnight violence against police officers in Ferguson, Mo.


“I strongly condemn the violence against the community, including police officers, in Ferguson,” she said at the Fraternal Order of Police National Conference and Exposition in Pittsburgh.

“As we have seen over the recent months and years, not only does violence obscure any message of peaceful protest, it places the community, as well as the officers who seek to protect it, in harm’s way,” she added.

Lynch’s comments are the first response from the Obama administration to an outbreak of violence in Ferguson Sunday night that included a police-involved shooting.

St. Louis County Police said Tyrone Harris Jr., opened fire on officers following a day of peaceful protests marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer.

Police returned fire and Harris is now in critical condition.

Lynch called the incident a setback in efforts to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve in the aftermath of police-involved deaths of young black men.

“The weekend’s events were peaceful and promoted a message of reconciliation and healing,” she said. “But incidents of violence, such as we saw last night, are contrary to both that message, along with everything that all of us, including this group, have worked to achieve over the past year.”

The shooting took place while President Obama and his family vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Obama interrupted his vacation last year to return to the nation’s capital, in part to respond to the unrest in Ferguson following Brown’s death.