Obama Claims ‘Institutional Constraints’ Prevented Him From Speaking Out On Killing Of Black Americans
Former President Barack Obama claims that “institutional constraints” prevented him from commenting on cases involving the killing of black Americans during his time in office.
Obama was speaking at a virtual gathering with the My Brother’s Keeper Leadership Forum.
He said his belief that the Justice Department was independent prevented him from making remarks on shootings such as those of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown.
“I did not in any way want to endanger their capacity to go in, investigate and potentially charge perpetrators, which meant that I could not come down or appear to come down decisively in terms of guilt or innocence,” Obama said.
“So you had institutional constraints.”
Obama Wouldn’t Talk Due To Constraints
Obama said that even with those constraints he was “wildly enthusisastic” about a resurgence in “activists” during his presidency.
“There were some frustrations for me in my institutional role,” he said regarding unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the 2014 shooting of Brown by a police officer.
Ten members of the public were injured, along with 6 police officers, and 321 people were arrested during the riots in Ferguson despite the story being false.
As for Martin, Obama’s constraints didn’t prevent him from commenting on the case, as the former President famously personalized the shooting by generating sympathy for the victim telling reporters, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
At the forum, Obama hinted he had wanted to say more at the time.
“I went as far as I could just commenting on cases like Trayvon Martin,” he lamented.
“This could have been my son,” Obama said, talking about the dangers young Black men face. “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” https://t.co/oRpOxASVSv
— POLITICO (@politico) May 27, 2021
Obama Frequently Interjected
Barack Obama actually had a history of making public comments regarding race matters in policing.
The former President once said the police “acted stupidly” in the case of Henry Louis Gates, an African-American arrested in his own home after reports of a possible break-in, despite not having all of the facts.
A 2015 NBC News report indicated that Obama “has spoken more bluntly about race in the wake of a group of police killings of African-American men,” noting that he had more frequently invoked the term “racism” in describing the challenges blacks face.
In 2016, at the memorial for the Dallas police massacre in 2016, Obama turned his moment into a speech on gun control and criticized police departments.
“Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged,” he said.
“We wonder if an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience.”
After the shooting which involved Micah Xavier Johnson opening fire during a Black Lives Matter protest deliberately gunning down 5 police officers and injuring nine others, Obama said there was “no possible justifications for these attacks or any violence towards law enforcement.”
The former president added that he didn’t have the majorities needed to make a significant push for social justice.https://t.co/4p3PZXEu7e
— KPRS – Hot 103 Jamz (@Hot103Jamz) May 27, 2021
Another topic of interest to the far-left has been reparations for slavery. Here too, Obama claimed he had constraints in trying to get anything accomplished during his presidency.
In a February podcast with Bruce Springsteen, Obama said reparations are “justified” and suggested one of the reasons he couldn’t get it through during his tenure was due to “white resentment.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson slammed the former President for using his eulogy at the late Rep. John Lewis’s memorial service over the summer as an opportunity to comment on the police.
Obama compared some police officers to Bull Connor, the commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s who was known for using fire hoses and police dogs against civil rights activists.
“Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans,” he stated.
Tucker Carlson: “Barack Obama one of the sleaziest and most dishonest figures in the history of American politics use of George Floyd’s death at a funeral to attack the police.” pic.twitter.com/UXNI84GSKP
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) July 31, 2020
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