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Obama on Ferguson: 'No excuse' for excessive police force against protesters

In his first remarks on the escalating situation in Ferguson, Missouri, President Obama on Thursday pleaded for calm and reflection to replace the chaos that has engulfed the town since police last weekend shot and killed Michael Brown.

"Now's the time for healing," he said. "Now's the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson."

Lamenting the "violent turn" the situation has taken, Obama said he had ordered the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the shooting. And while he condemned reports of looting and violence by protesters, he also assailed the stern police response, saying there was "no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters."

"Here in the United States, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs," he added.

Notably, Obama's brief remarks were far less pointed than those made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who in a Time op-ed claimed Washington had "incentivized the militarization of local police precincts" and created a "systemic" problem in law enforcement.