Exclusive: President Obama Urges ‘Peaceful’ Approach to Reforming Policing in Wake of Charlotte

(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

(ABC News)–In his first public reaction to the violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, during an exclusive interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” President Obama called for protesters to seek out peaceful means to address concerns of racial inequalities in the American policing system.

“The way we change the system requires to be able to reach out and engage the broader American community and that requires being peaceful, that requires being thoughtful about what are the specific reforms you’re looking for,” Obama told “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview today at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The president sought to make the distinction between those who have been protesting peacefully and the few who have engaged in violence during two nights of protests that have rocked the North Carolina city following the police-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American. Scott was killed by an African-American police officer.

“[The] overwhelming majority of people who have been concerned about police-community relations [are] doing it the right way,” the president said. “Every once in a while you see folks doing it the wrong way.”

“I think it’s important to separate out the pervasive sense of frustration among a lot of African Americans about shootings of people and the sense that justice is not always color blind,” the president also said.

The president has spoken on the phone to both the mayor of Charlotte and the governor of North Carolina to express his condolences for those in mourning and offer federal assistance as needed, according to the White House.

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