President Barack Obama spoke out at length for the first time this weekend about the racial tensions that have swept through the nation in the wake of of polarizing grand-jury decisions in a pair of cases involving white police officers killing unarmed black men.
The decisions, stemming from incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City this week, have inspired nationwide protests and a White House pledge to work toward resolving a trust deficit between law enforcement and local communities.
Obama spoke about the cases in an interview set to be aired in full Monday on BET, which attracts an audience that is largely young and African-American.
“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” Obama told BET in the interview. “This is something that is deeply rooted in our society. It’s deeply rooted in our history.”
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