Obama Is Spending His Afternoon Focusing On Ferguson

Seasons greetings ferguson missouri protestsREUTERS/Jim YoungPolice form a line in the street under a holiday sign after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri November 24, 2014.

President Barack Obama is spending a good portion of his afternoon on Monday dealing with the ongoing fallout of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

At noon, Obama is set to gather with Vice President Joe Biden and cabinet officials “to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies,” according to the White House. Afterwards, the president is set to hold meetings with civil rights activists and elected officials including Rev. Al Sharpton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

Some have criticised the deployment of military-style equipment and uniforms in Ferguson after the protests began last August after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer. A new wave of violent demonstrations hit the city last Monday after a grand jury decided to not indict the officer.

Obama has struck a cautious tone on the Ferguson protests thus far and focused his comments on the broader issue of police-community relations rather than the specifics of Brown’s case. His next two meetings on Monday will likely address that issue.

After the 12 p.m. Oval Office meeting, Obama will gather with “young local and national civil rights leaders.” The White House didn’t say what will be discussed, but a spokeswoman for Sharpton, an ally of the Brown family, confirmed he would attend.

Next, Obama is set to powwow with “elected officials, community and faith leaders, along with law enforcement officials, to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country.” De Blasio, who is also dealing with a controversial death of an African-American man during a police arrest, is scheduled to attend.

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