• Obama Defends Black Lives Matter

    President Obama told law enforcement officials Thursday that the Black Lives Matter movement is giving voice to a problem happening only in African-American communities, such as routine police brutality.

    “There is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that is not happening in other communities, and that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address,” Obama said. “The African-American community is not just making this up. It’s not something that’s just being politicized. It’s real. We as a society, particularly given our history have to take this seriously.”

    The Black Lives Matter movement has been criticized for its exclusive focus on African-Americans and aggressive tactics. Obama dismissed the criticism and said the movement’s true purpose is to raise concerns about issues related to practices like stop-and-frisk and the use of excessive force.

    “I think everybody understands ‘all lives matter,’” the president said. “Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement, everybody wants their kids to be safe when they’re walking to school, nobody wants to see police officers, who are doing their job fairly, hurt.”

    Black Lives Matter activists met with Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other top Obama aides last month to discuss reform proposals, including community policing.

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