- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Much as he did in the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, President Obama appealed for calm Tuesday in the shooting death of a black, unarmed Missouri teenager by police.

“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time,” Mr. Obama said.

The FBI is investigating the shooting, which occurred Saturday in Ferguson, Mo., a predominantly black community near St. Louis. Police in riot gear fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters Monday night after a second day of unrest that included looting, arson, vandalized vehicles and people throwing rocks at police.

The president called for the community to join him in praying for Mr. Brown’s family.

“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” said Mr. Obama, who is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard. “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”

He said the Justice Department will “direct resources to the case as needed.”

In 2012, Mr. Obama interjected himself into the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, saying he sympathized with the victim’s family because it could have been his son. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted by a jury in the shooting.

“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Mr. Obama said at the time, offering descriptions of how he himself has been racially profiled over the years.

“There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me,” the president said.

Mr. Brown’s parents are represented by attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin during the trial of Mr. Zimmerman last year. Mr. Crump said Mr. Brown, 18, “was executed in broad daylight.”

The FBI has opened an investigation into possible civil rights violations.

Witnesses have said that Mr. Brown had his hands raised when the unidentified officer approached with his weapon drawn and fired repeatedly.

Authorities so far haven’t detailed what led the officer to open fire, except to say there was a scuffle between the officer and Mr. Brown and a shot was fired inside the officer’s patrol car.

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