WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding in Ferguson on Monday after a grand jury decided not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, pleading with both residents and police officers to show restraint.
"We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make," Obama said. He said it was understandable that some Americans would be "deeply disappointed — even angered," but echoed Brown’s parents in calling for any protests to be peaceful.
In a late-night statement from the White House, Obama also urged Americans not to deny recent progress in race relations in the U.S., the protests in Ferguson notwithstanding. He called for the public to accept the grand jury’s decision and to refocus on ways to make more progress in bringing police and their communities together.
"That won’t be done by throwing bottles. That won’t be done by smashing car windows. That won’t be done by using this as an excuse to vandalize property," Obama said. "It certainly won’t be done by hurting anybody."
A grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Brown. The fatal shooting of the unarmed, black 18-year-old sparked weeks of protests outside St. Louis.
The Justice Department is also conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges.