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Obama Holds Ferguson Summit Meeting With Cabinet And Activists

December 2, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Obama Holds Ferguson Summit Meeting With Cabinet And Activists Image courtesy of screen.yahoo.com

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At a summit at the White House, President Barack Obama called for a “sustained conversation” surrounding the relationship between police and the communities they serve after a series of meetings with Cabinet members, law enforcement officials and activists on Monday.

The summit comes on the heels of a week of violent protests that engulfed the town of Ferguson after the decision by a grand jury last Monday not to indict officer Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

Obama told a crowd of about 50 activists, law enforcement and elected officials that the problem is “solvable,” but that there needs to be an ongoing discussion of the issues uncovered by Ferguson.

“[This is] not a problem simply of Ferguson, this is a problem that is national. It is a solvable problem, but it is one that unfortunately spikes but fades into background,” he said. “What we need is a sustained conversation…to move forward in a constructive fashion.”

Obama held his first meeting with members of his Cabinet, including Holder, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson attended, as well as deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work and Michael Botticelli, the acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy.

They discussed a review Obama ordered in August of federal funding and programs that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, according to the White House.

A White House official confirmed a presidential trip to Ferguson was indeed under consideration last week after Obama was asked by CNN about the possibility of such a visit just as the unrest was flaring up again in the Missouri city.

But because the issues that arose in Ferguson are more widespread than one incident in one community, the official said, White House advisers decided on what is described as a more comprehensive approach of convening a large group of stakeholders from cities around the country to tackle the issue in a more thorough manner.

President Obama admitted that past task forces have fallen short, but said that “this time will be different because the president of the United States is deeply vested in making it different.”

Following his Cabinet meeting, Obama hosted a group of young civil rights leaders — including representatives from the Ohio Students Association and the Howard University Student Association — in the Oval Office to discuss, per the White House, “the broader challenges we still face as a nation, including the mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color.”

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