As the country waits for the grand jury to decide whether or not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, President Obama said that Ferguson should not be used as a “excuse for violence.”
In an interview that aired Friday night on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos, Obama said that people have the right to protest over the death of Michael Brown, but he asked that protests stay peaceful.
Obama said, “This is a country where everyone can say what they think.” “But using any event as a reason to be violent is against the law and against who we are as a country.”
Obama’s interview in Las Vegas was part of a longer one that will air on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. Watch the above video clip.
Wilson shot Brown on August 9, under unclear circumstances. This led to violent protests in and around Ferguson and a larger debate about race and police tactics.
Wilson’s possible indictment by the grand jury has been awaited for weeks, and the decision may come soon. On Friday night, Guardian reporter Jon Swaine tweeted that the media had been told about official press conferences and other events that would happen after the grand jury made its decision.
Before the grand jury’s decision, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called up the National Guard on Monday. On Friday, the FBI sent 100 agents to the area. Ferguson protesters were arrested on Thursday and Friday, as tension has mounted again. Before Obama’s interview, the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, put out a video with tips for protesters and police on how to avoid a fight.