(CNSNews.com) - After the St. Louis County prosecutor announced Monday night that a grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, President Barack Obama appealed for calm.
Obama said he had personally witnessed enormous progress in race relations in the United States in recent decades and warned that violence in response to the grand jury's decision would do nothing to bring about further such progress.
"We need to recognize this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America," said Obama. "We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the last several decades. I have witnessed that in my own life and to deny that progress, I think, is to deny America’s capacity for change.
"But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up," said Obama. "Separating that from this particular decision, there are issues in which the law too often feels it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion.
“I don’t think that is the norm," said Obama. "I don’t think that is true for the majority of communities, or the vast majority of law enforcement officials. But these are real issues, and we have to lift them up and not deny them or try to tamp them down.
"What we need to do is to understand them, and figure out how do we make more progress. And that can be done," said Obama. "That won’t be done by throwing bottles. That it won’t be done by smashing car windows. That it want being done by using it as an excuse to vandalize property. And certainly won’t be done by hurting anybody.”