Speed Reads

Eric Garner

Obama on Eric Garner case: 'This is an American problem'

President Obama on Wednesday spoke out forcefully following a grand jury's decision to not indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, saying the case underscored the need for heightened accountability and for improved relations between police and civilians.

"When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that's a problem," Obama said. Yet eschewing a racially binary view of the issue, Obama added, "This is an American problem, and not just a black problem."

"It's my job as president to help solve it," he said.

Obama said Attorney General Eric Holder would soon offer more specific remarks on the Garner case. Democratic lawmakers and New York's senators have called on the Justice Department to investigate the case.