The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized President Obama Thursday for his remarks about law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo.
"I would contend that discussing police tactics from Martha's Vineyard is not helpful to ultimately calming the situation," director Jim Pasco said in an interview with The Hill.
Pasco harkened back to 2009, when Obama criticized a Massachusetts police officer for arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, when he was attempting to break into his own home. Obama said the officer had “acted stupidly.”
"That is one where the president spoke precipitously without all the facts," Pasco said, adding that the current situation "is a much larger and more tragic incident."
Pasco said both police and members of the public are entitled to due process but said he is not convinced police have used excessive force in Ferguson.
"I'm not there, and neither is the president," Pasco said. "That is why we have due process in the United States. And this will all be sorted out over time. But right now, I haven't seen anything from afar — and maybe the president has — that would lead me to believe the police are doing anything except to restore order."
Obama on Thursday called for “peace and calm on the streets” of Ferguson after “disturbing” clashes between police and protesters stemming from the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.
"There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting," Obama said in a statement from where he is vacationing in Massachusetts. "There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights."
The officer involved in the Ferguson shooting is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and is being represented by one of its lawyers. His name has not been released to the public.
Pasco declined to comment on whether Ferguson police should be withholding the officer's name.
"I would leave any statements on that to his defense," he said.