WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday said more must be done to build trust that police violence against blacks and Hispanics will be properly investigated.
“We’re going to have to do more work together in thinking about how we can build confidence that after police officers have used force, particularly deadly force, that there is confidence in how the investigation takes place and that justice is done,” Obama said after a meeting with activists, lawmakers and law enforcement leaders.
Obama said there might be a need to develop a set of practices to ensure that investigations are carried out effectively and fairly for all parties involved.
The meeting on Wednesday focused on how to bridge the divide between police officers and the black and Hispanic communities after a series of high-profile police killings of black men in the past two years sparked angry protests throughout the country.
Obama has called for the country to come together and not give in to despair and division after the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas and the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
He laid out a series of steps that could help to improve relations between law enforcement and communities, including improving data collection and updating police training practices.
Attendees at the meeting included Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, Michael McHale, and leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A White House task force released a report last year recommending various reforms for local law enforcement in the United States, but Obama said more action is needed.
“What’s been apparent is that it’s not enough just for us to have a task force, a report and then follow up through our departments, we have to push this out to communities so that they feel ownership for some of the good ideas that have been floating around this table,” he said.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Andrew Hay)