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Obama to BET: Small Number of Police Departments Have ‘Fear of Folks Who Look Different’

By: Adam Edelman (New York Daily News)

President Obama — in his first televised interview since a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the New York cop who killed Eric Garner — said Monday that “bad training” and a “fear of folks who look different” in a small number of police departments across the U.S. have contributed to the ongoing mistrust between law enforcement and minority communities.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers are doing a really tough job, and most of them are doing it well and are trying to do the right thing,” Obama said during a one-on-one interview with BET Networks that aired Monday. “But a combination of bad training, in some cases, a combination in some cases of departments that really are not trying to root out biases, or tolerate sloppy police work; a combination in some cases of folks just not knowing any better, and in a lot of cases, subconscious fear of folks who look different — all of this contributes to a national problem that’s going to require a national solution.”

“This country is at its best when everybody is being treated fairly. We have a history and a legacy of people not being treated fairly in all kinds of walks of life,” he said during the 30-minute special, titled “A Conversation with President Barack Obama.” “It is particularly important for people to feel like they’re being treated fairly by law enforcement and police, because the consequences when they’re not treated fairly can be deadly.”


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