Speed Reads

Ferguson

Obama: Justice Department opening civil rights investigation into Ferguson

At a press conference at the White House on Monday, President Obama addressed the ongoing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, announcing that the Justice Department had opened a civil rights investigation into the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer. Obama also announced that Attorney General Eric Holder would be dispatched to Ferguson on Wednesday as part of that investigation.

Once again, Obama appeared reluctant to take a side in the dispute, calling on protesters to refrain from violence, while also saying there was "no excuse for excessive force by police or any action that denies people the right to protest peacefully." Critics have complained that Obama, as the nation's first black president, should more forcefully defend the mostly black protesters, while others say his cautious stance is a purposeful attempt to avoid stoking the conflict.

Toward the end, Obama did reflect on the source of the protesters' anger, saying they are part of "communities that feel left behind," that are "without hope and without economic prospects," all of which are a "consequence of tragic histories" in America.

Obama also addressed the U.S.'s ongoing operations in Iraq, insisting that he would not "be reintroducing thousands of U.S. troops" to the country even as the U.S. seeks to roll back the progress of the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.