- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2014

President Obama is urging protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, not to engage in violence when a grand jury releases its report about the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer.

“First and foremost, keep protests peaceful,” said Friday in an interview with George Stephanopolous of ABC News. “This is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble, to protest actions that they think are unjust. But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”

Authorities in Missouri are preparing for the imminent release of the grand jury report into the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who got into a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson. The decision could come any day; law-enforcement officials are expecting to get 48-hour notice to prepare for civil unrest.

Leaks from the grand jury testimony indicate Mr. Brown struggled with the officer in the patrol car, minutes after he stole items from a store.

Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. have made comments previously that took Mr. Brown’s side. In a speech in September, Mr. Obama said the incident was typical of a justice system that “stains the heart of black children.”

“In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement,” Mr. Obama said. “Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement — guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.”

Mr. Holder has said that the Ferguson police department, which is predominantly white, should be revamped from top to bottom. The Justice Department is conducting a separate probe to determine whether Mr. Brown’s civil rights were violated.

Protesters in Ferguson and elsewhere are vowing that they will not accept a decision that exonerates the officer. Officer Wilson also reportedly is in negotiations to resign his job.

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