President Obama on Alton Sterling, Philando Castile Deaths: 'We Have Seen Tragedies Like This Too Many Times'

Upon arriving in Poland, Obama spoke about the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Immediately after landing in Warsaw for a NATO summit, President Obama offered additional comments on the recent shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Louisiana and Philando Castile in Flacon Heights, Minnesota.

In his statement, Obama quoted data regarding police-involved shootings that resulted in the death of black Americans, and encouraged everyone to take action, as he said that he believes “the majority of American people see this is a problem that we should all care about.”

“We have seen tragedies like this too many times. All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents,” Obama said. “They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. ”

Furthermore, the president took on the issue of Black Lives Matter versus its counter, All Lives Matter, noting that while the latter is true, statistics prove that minorities are more likely to be victims.

Sterling and Castile, both black men, were killed in two separate police-involved shootings that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Sterling, 57, was fatally shot outside of a convenience store where he was selling CDs. The incident was captured on camera and on cellphone video. The FBI and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division have since taken over the investigation into Sterling’s death.

One day later, Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria manager at a local Montessori school, was shot in a police-involved incident that was shared on Facebook Live by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds.

According to Reynolds, the couple was pulled over “allegedly for what the officer said was a broken taillight,” before the officer asked for license and registration. Reynolds said that when Castile informed officers that he had a concealed carry permit and was armed, and then reached for his license and registration.

Reynolds added that Castile was then shot five times. He later died at a local hospital.

“When people say black lives matter, that doesn’t mean that blue lives don’t matter All lives matter,” Obama said. “But the data shows that black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents.”

Obama also urged people to consider the situation if they were in the shoes of those affected, and remember that the “sincerity or the legitimacy” of vocalized support – including “protests and vigils and expressions of outrage” – is not simply being politically correct.

“To be concerned about these issues isn’t political correctness, it’s being American,” Obama said, adding, “We don’t expect that in my lifetime, maybe not in my children’s lifetime, that all the vestiges of the past will have been cured. But we can do better. People of good will can do better.

In closing, Obama emphasized his hope for the future saying, “We can do better and I believe we will do better.”

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