Last week, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner found President Obama, Cecily Strong, and Keegan-Michael Key playfully joking about police brutality and the stereotype of black rage. In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death after an encounter with Baltimore police officers and the subsequent civil unrest in the city, the President called in to “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” for a conversation that was decidedly serious in its tone.
“Police departments themselves need to understand that if they want to be successful and create a safer environment for their officers, then they’ve got to build more trust,” President Obama told Steve Harvey, during an interview posted by Majic 107.5. “It’s in their interest to root out folks who aren’t doing the right thing…to hold people accountable when they do something wrong. The closing ranks approach that we see all too often ends up just feeding greater frustration and can ultimately put more police officers in danger.”
President Obama didn’t only hold police accountable, as he also addressed the pathology of racism and lack of opportunities in lower income communities. He pointed to the 102-page Department of Justice report on Ferguson, Missouri issued in the wake of Michael Brown’s deadly encounter with Darren Wilson. The President further offered steps and resources for those interested in improving relations with police in their own communities and stressed long term solutions as opposed to momentary outbursts each time an unarmed citizen dies in police custody. You can hear the interview below and at the Majic 107.5 website.