Ted Eytan / CC BY-SA 2.0

President Obama said the Black Lives Matter movement has “legitimate” concerns and that portraying activists as opposed to police officers is incorrect.

Obama made his comments Thursday at an event at the White House on criminal justice reform moderated by the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization focused on criminal justice. Many of those in attendance were law enforcement leaders.

The Huffington Post reports:

Obama said activists are drawing attention to a legitimate concern about whether African-Americans are treated unfairly in specific jurisdictions or are subject to excessive force more frequently. He added that the “overwhelming majority of law enforcement is doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing.” …

“We as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously,” Obama said of the fact that African-Americans are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. “The African-American community is not just making this up, and it’s not just something being politicized. It’s real, and there’s a history there.” …

“We as a society, if we are not investing in opportunity for poor kids, and then we expect just the police and prosecutors to keep them out of sight and out of mind, that’s a failed strategy. That’s a failure on our part as a whole,” Obama said. “If kids in the inner city are not getting treatment and opportunity, that’s as much of a problem as if it’s happening to our kids, and we’ve got to think of all our children in that same way.”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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