During a recent radio interview, President Barack Obama made his first public remarks since the Justice Department released a damning report detailing the racist policing practices of Ferguson, Mo. officers and said what at least a swath of America is already thinking.
Ferguson is not an anomaly.
In the SiriusXM interview, set to air Friday, Obama told host Joe Madison that the racial discrimination found in Ferguson is “not an isolated incident.” According to Bloomberg, the president made sure to point out that the situation, while not alone, is atypical of what happens across the nation. But that doesn’t mean racial tension between police and predominantly black residents is restricted to Ferguson.
“I think there are circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have broken down and individuals or entire departments may not have the training or the accountability to make sure that they are protecting and serving all people and not just some,” Obama said in the interview.
Obama is set to impose recommendations from a presidential task force calling for “greater oversight of police departments and the use of independent prosecutors to investigate deadly use of force by officers,” Bloomberg reports.
The 11-member panel also urged state and local police departments to change how officers view the communities they patrol and collect and publicize demographic information and about who they stop. The White House has also asked Congress for a three-year, $263 million community policing package that includes $75 million, along with matching funds from local governments, to supply as many as 50,000 body-worn cameras for officers.
But Obama’s comments, made just ahead of his trip to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march, aren’t proof that he’s on top of the racial tension in America, according to a new CNN poll.
As Barack Obama prepares to mark the march’s anniversary in Selma, Alabama, 39% of Americans say relations between blacks and whites have worsened since he took office, including 45% of whites and 26% of blacks. Just 15% of Americans say race relations have improved under Obama, while 45% say they have stayed about the same.
For more from the poll, including numbers on the nation’s voting practices and criminal justice system, click here.