“His family will never hold Michael in their arms again”

I want to address something that’s been in the news over the last couple of days and that’s the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.  I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people protesting.  Today, I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward.

This morning, I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been following it and been in communication with his team.  I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown, along with local officials on the ground.

The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation.  I made clear to the Attorney General that we should do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done.

I also just spoke with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri.  I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and underscored that now is the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened, and to find a way to come together going forward.  He is going to be traveling to Ferguson.  He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that, working together, he is going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way.

Of course, it’s important to remember how this started.  We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances.  He was 18 years old.  His family will never hold Michael in their arms again.  And when something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.

There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.  There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.  And here, in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.  Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.

I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened.  There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred.  There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward.  That’s part of our democracy.  But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family.  We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest; a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us; and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.

So now is the time for healing.  Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.  Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done.  And I’ve asked that the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney on the scene continue to work with local officials to move that process forward.  They will be reporting to me in the coming days about what’s being done to make sure that happens.


122 Responses to ““His family will never hold Michael in their arms again””

  1. August 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    What a difference a day makes:

  2. 23 Jennifer
    August 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    PBO looks completely drained. It hurts to see him like that.

    • 24 hopefruit2
      August 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Indeed, but not to worry – he’ll be fine. He is surrounded by his loving family and has the majority of this country behind him. I know he partied hard last night and then probably stayed up all night working the phones lines, and monitoring the situation in Ferguson and making the appropriate follow-up decisions.

      For those who want sit around in their Ivory towers talking about the “optics,” here it is right there….the hardest working President EVER.

      Meanwhile, I hope Hillary is taking notes – because if she thinks being President after 2016 is just going to be about partying and giving TV interviews, she’d better think again. This job is not for the weak, weary or aged.

      • 25 99ts
        August 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

        The optics I am seeing – the incredible changes – before and after the President addressed the concerns, the issues and what has happened. I have never known of another public figure with such strength, knowledge and empathy – closest being Nelson Mandela.

        • 26 hopefruit2
          August 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm

          Indeed 99ts. Incredible optics of positive change…

        • August 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

          Absolutely, 99ts. It’s all about hope.

        • August 14, 2014 at 9:34 pm

          You’re right. I love and respect this president so much.

          LIke the blogger Jim Stewart said a while ago, President Obama is an INTEGRAL leader. Competence and knowledge combined with wisdom and maturity.

          If you’ve heard about Kohlberg’s theory of stages of moral development, it’s easy to see that President is one of those rare leaders who operate at the highest level. As Ghandi did. And Mandela.

        • 29 jackiegrumbacher
          August 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm

          99ts, there never has been another like our president. Just when you think you can’t love and admire him more, he does what he did today and you realize that there’s always a new level to the love and respect he engenders in our hearts.

      • August 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

        “probably stayed up all night working the phone lines”… not only about Ferguson, but also probably about Ukraine, Gaza, floods in the NorthEast, and who knows what else…

      • 31 forus50
        August 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm

        You said it. Thanks hp.

    • 33 Obama Grandmama
      August 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      That was my take on this photo of PBO too. I have painted a couple of watercolor portraits of him and the eyes tell the story of the physical and mental health of the individual. They show his deep caring. Been watching the PBS JFK An American Experience on Netflix lately. JFK’s dark circles under his eyes tell the story of the grave threats to our country and his own health situation in his time.
      Doris Kearns Goodwin, famous Presidential historian spoke of the importance of the CIC having an outlet for the extreme stress of the job so whenever I see a photo of PBO hugging his family, babies, getting out of the bubble to be with normal appreciative people and especially of him playing golf I am grateful for his being able to relieve some stress.

      • 34 HZ
        August 15, 2014 at 12:30 am

        Obama Grandmama, you have captured several of the most personal and true signs of our president’s physical demeanor. I have had a very wonderful reminder of my mother always telling me that she could always tell when I had pulled an all night or close to one. My eyes., My voice. I had stayed up to study for a presentation, a required rehearsal to conduct a work of music for my choral conducting class or perfect the choreography for my performance arts students; my eyes always gave up the answer to the question.

        I have lived through many a presidents as many of our TOD family members have, and President Barack Obama is the hardest working POTUS EVER!!!!!!!!! I am not putting down any other president, but if any one of us who have had the honor of watching this president or have family or friends who may be very close to him and know his working habits; know that my statement is full truth.

        I am always so elated with gratefulness when I see him out with his family and very, very close friends because they give him so much joy and energy that any great president needs. Also when he can get out and play golf or basketball, it gives my heart so much joy. As he get a little older, his basketball games might take a lesser regularity , but whatever enjoyment of his choice of sports or being out amongst the people; it is great for him. However, I do know that he will get a little time to replenish his energy levels with a great nap, then my heart is full of much joy.

        These last months have been very full for him and of course so many of these months have had things to keep him awake most of the night, I am sure. However, we know that he always bounces back because POB knows his inner strength and when his decisions are pulled from his most inner core; rest assure he has peace within in one of his compartments of that brilliant mind.

        We just keep lifting him up in our prayers and meditational quiet times and ask that he will be granted the favors of much wisdom, compassion, thoughtfulness, loving deeds, and a well of knowledge on what he needs to process as he perform as the CIC and all that come with being this great man, our 44th President.

        So tonight, we ask Almighty God to give wisdom generously and as much rest to his physical body as it needs. Trust, he will be fine. We give him energy. However, when any of us are being mistreated or people all over the globe are being oppressed, he carries this stress with grace and dignity. I personally pray for that to be granted to him daily. We lift him up as well as VP Biden and our FLOTUS and Dr. Biden and we will be doing a great work.

        Remember we must not worry, but being lovingly concern about him staying gracefully joyful and doing what he likes most, serving the people of this nation will keep his back. We Will Keep His Back.

        Good night my Chips and TOD family. May Layla and CarolMae have our love as well. We all need the beautiful love that is so present here in this beautiful space that Chips has given to each of us. Blessings and sweetness to all of you. I love my TOD family so much.HZ


  3. 35 JER
    August 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm

  4. 36 yardarm756
    August 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    • 37 99ts
      August 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Went to your link sailor – so many examples – only thing slowing it now – media arrests – no wonder the Ferguson cop was aghast by that – it completely blew their cover of having the media onside.

  5. 38 carolyn
    August 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Oh my! Now this is the country I love and grew up in. Those other police were alien to our entire way of life. Thank you PBO, AG Holder, Capt. Johnson, and all who are working to bring justice for Michael Brown and peace and understanding to Ferguson.

  6. 43 desertflower
    August 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    The adult in the room. Again.

    • 46 99ts
      August 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Always – cannot believe every last person seems incapable of doing the right thing – until the President spells it out.
      How different is today – how easily could the Governor have sorted this 3 days ago. Amazing threads to read today.

      • 47 nospin
        August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

        “cannot believe every last person seems incapable of doing the right thing – until the President spells it out.
        How different is today – how easily could the Governor have sorted this 3 days ago.”

        Worth repeating.

      • August 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        I’ve said it in another thread. I’m pretty sure that President Obama is the one who has used his LEADERSHIP to help Governor Nixon find a solution.

        • 49 HZ
          August 15, 2014 at 12:46 am

          You have it so right, Lovepolitics2008. PBO and AG Holder together gave Gov. Nixon the courage to enter into his core space and do what had to be the right call. We are so blessed to have President Barack Obama in the WH and AG Eric Holder as the nation’s chief man of the law. Count our blessings for sure tonight. HZ

  7. August 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Hello dear TODsters. I was so relieved to read about Capt. Ron Johnson taking charge in Ferguson. And I found this interview of Martin Luther King III and Georgia Police Chief Cedric Alexander. Chief Alexander is the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE and he’s been invited to visit Ferguson to talk about a plan for diversity on the police force. The woman who did the interview asked intelligent questions and the discussion was frank and calm. I appreciate President Obama and AG Holder so much. Such a feeling of relief for all of these people. Measured. Calm. Strong. Adults with hearts that can hold the world. I am so thankful for all of them. Bless the people of Ferguson.

  8. 51 JER
    August 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm

  9. August 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm

  10. August 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    America Rises!!!

  11. 55 hopefruit2
    August 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    RT @ReignOfApril POTUS spoke to Gov. Nixon, who changed the look & feel of law enforcement in #Ferguson. But y’all are focused on what he said at the mic.

    • August 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      At this point, I don’t care. They will hate him until the day he passes from this earth. And they don’t matter. They’re the nattering nellies who are more concerned with image than substance. Unless PBO comes out and screams “Kill Whitey”, they won’t be happy. They’ve never had his back. They’ve never voted for him. They just thrive on yipping like annoying little dogs and waving their hands saying “Look at me! I’m REAL! Obama is just doing Massa’s bidding!” And yet no one will know who they are, while PBO will live on for the ages.

      And I think I have an idea for an essay for tomorrow.

      • August 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        THISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! A Million Timesssssssssssss!!

      • 58 hopefruit2
        August 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        Yup. And so looking forward to your essay tomorrow LL.

        Also, on a much lighter note how is that newish follower of yours “Erotic Poetess?” LOL 🙂

      • 60 jackiegrumbacher
        August 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

        That is the absolute truth of it, LL. Those who natter at him are like fleas in the grass whose names will never be remembered, while President Barack Obama will be associated with greatness for generation upon generation.

        • 61 HZ
          August 15, 2014 at 12:40 am

          May I concur with you jackieG. LL, I am looking forward to your great mind sharing the gems of wisdom. You lift my spirit so much. TY. HZ

  12. 62 amk for obama
    August 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    did they arrest the killer cop yet?

  13. 66 hopefruit2
    August 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    • 67 MadameSoph
      August 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      Exactly Meta! Well said.

    • 68 jackiegrumbacher
      August 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Meta, if you remember his very first press conference as president he said in response to some stupid WHPC question that he likes to know what he’s talking about when he speaks. And that has always been the way he proceeds on every issue and occasion.

  14. August 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    • August 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Paging JO’B

      LOVE this photo of SecDef Hagel — when the Senate blocked his nomination in the first go round, I think was when I was most livid at the Senate. To treat a fellow Republican, a former Senator who was an enlisted soldier in the shameful, draft-boys-when-they-turn-18-but-do-not-let-them-vote-until-they-are-21 Vietnam War that way cannot be forgotten.

  15. August 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Before Senate Republicans frightened a handful of Democrats into helping them shoot down Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, the chamber ran so loudly with the words “cop-killer” that you might have thought Ice-T was addressing the Senate. As director of litigation with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Adegbile had presided over a team representing Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1981 of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Though Adegbile was a child when Faulkner was killed, the NAACP LDF represented Abu-Jamal during his post-conviction appeal proceedings in the late 2000s, and federal courts ultimately concluded that sentencing instructions were improper, which spared Abu-Jamal the death penalty. To hear Republicans talk, Adegbile practically led the movement of “Free Mumia” supporters who became convinced that Abu-Jamal had been framed, instead of the LDF simply ensuring a reviled defendant received his constitutional right to due process.

    Yet Adegbile’s failed nomination wasn’t really just about Abu-Jamal, but a larger conservative attack on the civil rights division – the part of the Justice Department dedicated to enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws. Convinced that anti-black racism is a thing of the past and that federal intervention to secure minority rights does more harm than good, conservatives have waged a years long campaign to dominate, dismantle or discredit the civil rights division and the laws it is designed to enforce.

    Adegbile is a celebrated Supreme Court litigator who has devoted his life to protecting laws conservatives want to see repealed, overturned or interpreted so narrowly as to be toothless, and that was reason enough for Republicans to oppose him. But absent the spectre of a revival of Willie Horton-style race baiting politics, it would not have been sufficient to bring skittish Democrats along for the ride. Republicans don’t just oppose Adegbile. They oppose the civil rights division itself. That’s a tremendous irony given that it was first established under a Republican president – over the opposition of many Southern Democrats….continued

  16. August 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Rachel is showing Kent State tonight. My parents sort of started the anti-war movement there in ’66. They met in the basement of my dad’s church. They have a lot to say about what happened. Last night my Mom called to find out what kind of non-violence trainings kids are getting these days and to tell me what they should do about tear gas.

  17. August 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm

  18. 82 carolyn
    August 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I am SO hoping and praying that those awful pictures of military vehicles, and police with body armor, and assault weapons, throwing tear gas canisters and aiming right into people’s yards will sink into Americans’ consciousness and bring about an understanding of what we must not have, but a renewal of what we should be doing. People must understand this is NOT the way for police to behave on America’s streets. Not ONE thing that happened deserved that horrible performance!!! So thankful for individuals who tweeted words and pictures.

    • August 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      “People must understand this is NOT the way for police to behave on America’s streets.”

      Fully agree, Carolyn.

      If it weren’t for Twitter/Internet, we’d be in a much more dangerous America – that lesson, of the past four days, needs to be taken very, very seriously.

      We are in a perilous state given our media is almost totally controlled by folk who would have been certain to suppress and distort what happened to Mike Brown. We know that for fact because we watched them try, these past four days.

      4 Nov 2014 is monumentally important if we are to have any hope of continuing to move America in the direction PBO has been guiding it these past 5 + years.

      What is heartening are the reactions of countless Americans to the tragedy of Mike Brown’s murder. We need to channel all that love into a massive turnout on 4 Nov.

      Yes We Must

    • August 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Agree 100%, Carolyn.

      I was appalled at what happened in Philadelphia in the 1980s when they essentially bombed an apartment complex. Was completely surprised that that story had no traction whatsoever (can’t speak for Philly, since I’m in the Los Angeles area).

      I’ve mentioned before that I was similarly aghast when the LAPD torn down the front of an apartment building to gain access to a suspect. Can’t remember the details and am unable to locate articles about this incident.

      (All tweets previously posted on prior days here.)

      Looks like Oklahoma is one of the leading states in acquiring “surplus” military equipment (built by contractors [thanks Bush-Cheney-Rumseld — not]).

      Read the text that accompanies this tweet — police receive free “surplus” military equipment due to a law passed in the early 1990s — the article doesn’t specify whether this happened during the Bush 41 or WJC Adm:

      And finally, contractors built more than 24,000 MRAPs — which works out to what, about 1 per every 6 soldiers? How much did this cost taxpayers? If each unit cost only $1,000, wouldn’t that be $24 million — you know contractors charged much more than $1,000 per unit.

    • August 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      well said carolyn. I’ll add that the striking difference between today and yesterday MUST teach a LESSON to all the local police departments who think that playing soldiers is NOT the way you respond to citizens protests.

  19. 86 hopefruit2
    August 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Twitter should not have allowed them back after the first ban, knowing they were out to cause trouble.

  20. 87 JER
    August 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm

  21. August 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Someone at POU found this over at LGF:

    A great comment from commenter at LGF.

    CuriousLurker Aug 14, 2014 5:07:00pm

    Yesterday when I was lurking someone—Decatur Deb, IIRC—said something to the effect of the people of Ferguson were being punished for electing a black President, and (paraphrasing) “You didn’t think they were going to go out easy, did you?”

    I’ve had those same thoughts myself many times since Obama was
    elected. Ditto the black friends I’ve discussed it with. I never
    imagined that it would get as ugly as it has though—not just in
    Ferguson, but all over.

    I think those people knew they were being punished too and it hurt
    them and made them angry. Black Americans were so happy when Obama was elected, as were many people of all races. Do you guys remember seeing all the people weeping with joy, and even reporters & people like Stephen Colbert choking up? Everyone was so proud.

    That lasted what, a week? Maybe until his swearing in? Then we found out later that they whole time the GOP was planning to obstruct him at every turn. He’s gotten nothing but disrespect from certain quarters since 2008. It’s truly shameful. It pisses me off and I’m not black, how do you think black people feel?

    All the hundreds of years of brutal slavery, loss of their original
    cultures & languages, families broken up and sold, women raped, men (and women) whipped & beaten, Jim Crow, lynchings, the Civil Rights fights, and still they never got equality. Then OMG, a black President! Happiness, pride, black children knowing they really could one day be anything, even president…

    Yeah, I’m 100% sure there are some people who see this sea change, the changing culture & demographics, as a zero sum game and want to punish black Americans for it. It’s sickening.

    *steps down from pulpit*”

  22. 92 donna dem 4 obama
    August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

  23. August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Glad to see NYC support for Michael Brown.

    Now that things aren’t intense as they were since Sunday, how about a laugh?

    “Motorists cited for failing to yield to undercover deputy in giant traffic cone costume in crosswalk.”

  24. 97 amk for obama
    August 14, 2014 at 9:26 pm

  25. 98 JER
    August 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm

  26. 99 Nena20409
    August 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  27. 100 Nena20409
    August 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm

  28. 101 Nena20409
    August 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    • 103 0388jojothecat
      August 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      So fucking true……if you kill 16 one year olds and their teachers don’t blame easy access to guns and don’t blame the mentally ill white kid, although he was an adult. Blame video games and Hollywood.

  29. 104 JER
    August 14, 2014 at 9:48 pm

  30. 105 Nena20409
    August 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm

  31. 106 donna dem 4 obama
    August 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm

  32. 108 amk for obama
    August 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm

  33. 109 99ts
    August 14, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Ahh – Lawrence telling truth – Gov made decisions AFTER speaking to PBO. How are those who supposedly lead their states going to operate without PBO?

  34. 110 Nena20409
    August 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    With a happier Heart, I bid TOD, G’Nite.

  35. 112 4morefor44
    August 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    oh my god. so that guy the “anonymous” groups were naming all day and posting his address was not the murderer of michael brown?!? one of the most active twitter twits who was blasting the guy’s name and address all day i see is suspended now, but i remember a twit he/she posted that said roughly, “i don’t even care if that’s the guy anymore. they need to release the name!” these people are as sick as the people they claim to be against. steer clear of any “anonymous” group or person. libertarian thugs, through and through.

    • August 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      ” …. these people are as sick as the people they claim to be against. steer clear of any “anonymous” group or person. libertarian thugs, through and through.”

      True & Very good advice, 4mf44!!!

  36. August 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Is Lawrence O’Donnell about to say that the President acted Historically…..waiting to hear

  37. 121 Obama Grandmama
    August 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Lawrence said PBO commented on active event while the other CICs that spoke out waited for a long time after the fact. Someone mentioned last night that if PBO did say anything the GOP could use it for impeachment purposes. Hope that was wrong cuz I felt it was getting totally out of hand and he was able to bring calm and reason to the situation. I am proud to have helped elect this special man twice as POTUS.

    August 15, 2014 at 5:27 am


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