Via LA Times:
President Obama on Sunday urged Americans on all sides of the Black Lives Matter debate to “listen to each other” and not undercut the cause of reform through violence or careless talk.
"Whenever those of us who are concerned about failures of the criminal justice system attack police, you are doing a disservice to the cause,” Obama said during a brief news conference after meeting with Spain’s prime minister here.
"First of all, any violence directed at police officers is a reprehensible crime and needs to be prosecuted," Obama said. Beyond that, even rhetorically painting police with a broad brush or saying “things that are stupid or imprudent" risks harming the reform cause, he said.
The majority of protesters “who are doing the right thing, peacefully protesting” should not be held “responsible for everything that is uttered at a protest site," he added.
Any protest movement will have “folks who say things that are stupid or imprudent or over generalized or harsh," Obama said. By contrast, he said, a thoughtful and respectful tone will help bring about real change.
He added that he thinks many law enforcement agencies, including the Dallas Police Department, are already taking seriously the problem of racial bias in criminal justice.
Obama’s meeting with the interim prime minister was part of an abbreviated visit here. It was cut short by his decision to return to the U.S. early in the wake of a tumultuous week during which two black men were shot and killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and five police officers were killed by a sniper while guarding a peaceful protest in Dallas.
On Sunday morning, Obama tried to comfort and calm from a distance. He called on police organizations to be respectful of the frustrations that black communities feel and said he hopes people don't dismiss Black Lives Matter concerns as political correctness.
"I'd like all sides to listen to each other," he said.