President Barack Obama encouraged the nation to work harder to heal rifts between police and citizens during a Friday ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in honor of fallen police officers.
The president delivered the remarks in front of law enforcement officers and the families of fallen officers amid national tensions regarding police brutality in Black communities, including protests over the death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died of injuries last month while in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland.
The remarks took place during the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, part of the annual National Police Week. The week-long event occurs in the wake of various deadly shootings of law enforcement officers themselves, including two officers who were shot and killed last week in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
“We can work harder, as a nation, to heal the rifts that still exist in some places between law enforcement and the people you risk your lives to protect,” the president said, according to a White House transcript. “We owe it to all of you who wear the badge with honor. And we owe it to your fellow officers who gave their last full measure of devotion.”
Click here to read the president’s complete remarks.