Obama on Baltimore: 'No Excuse' for 'Counterproductive' Violence
President Barack Obama condemned violent protests today after a night of rioting in Baltimore.
Americans are protesting in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal injury while in police custody. Last night, rioters looted businesses and burned down stores following Gray's funeral. At least 15 officers were injured.
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said today at a news conference.
Obama said that looters aren’t protesting; they’re stealing. He said that the people who are burning down buildings are committing arson and undermining the businesses in their own community.
The president said that there were a handful of people who took advantage of this situation and added that “they need to be treated like criminals.”
Obama remarked that yesterday’s violence distracted from multiple days of peaceful and constructive protests. He added that the overwhelming majority acted appropriately.
“One burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again, and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way, I think, have been lost in the discussion,” he said.
Obama said there have long been interactions between police and African-Americans that "raise troubling questions."
"This is not new and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new," he said.