- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2015

President Obama said Thursday that he wants to improve training of police in minority communities so that officers can “be aware of their biases ahead of time.”

The comment came during an interview at the White House, when YouTube celebrity GloZell Green, who is black, asked Mr. Obama what can be done to prevent violence by white police officers against black males such as incidents last year in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

She told Mr. Obama that she has cut the hoods off of her husband’s “hoodie” sweatshirts because she’s afraid “the po-po” [police] will shoot him when he goes outdoors.

“I understand,” the president said.

Mr. Obama said that while “the overwhelming majority” of police officers are doing a difficult job well, problems remain.

“There’s still biases in our society that, in split-second situations, where people have to make quick decisions … studies have shown that African-American males are seen as more threatening, which puts them in more vulnerable positions,” Mr. Obama said. “Young African-American males are typically seen as older than they are. And so a lot of the way to solve this is to improve training so people can be aware of their biases ahead of time.”

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The Department of Justice reportedly is preparing to release a decision that will show that the white police officer in Ferguson, Darren Wilson, didn’t violate the civil rights of 18-year-old Michael Brown when he shot and killed the young man during a confrontation on the street last August.

A grand jury in Missouri declined to bring homicide or any other state charges against Mr. Wilson, who has since left the force.

Mr. Obama said a task force that he assembled late last year is coming up with recommendations, including the possibility of police wearing body cameras more often.

“We’re going to take some of those recommendations, and we’re going to put federal muscle behind them,” the president said. “You get better policing when communities have confidence that the police are protecting all people and not in any way showing bias.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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