Obama: Sterling, Castile deaths a 'systematic targeting' of African-Americans

Posted at 1:27 PM, Jul 07, 2016

Speaking from Warsaw, Poland in the midst of a NATO Summit, President Barack Obama reiterated his sadness toward the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police.

"We have seen tragedies like this too many times," Obama said. "... These are not incidents. These are systematic targeting of broader disparities in our criminal justice system."

"When incidents like this occur, there's a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts. And that should trouble all of us."

"This is not just a black issue, this is not just a Hispanic issue, this is an American issue."

The President also took the opportunity during his speech to attempt to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

"There is no contradiction between us supporting law enforcement ... and also saying that, there are problems across our criminal justice system," he said. "When people say 'Black Lives Matter,' that doesn't mean 'Blue Lives' don't matter, it just means that all live matter."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest noted earlier Thursday that the task force on policing that Obama established to improve ties and trust between police and law enforcement. He's urging local policing agencies to implement the Justice Department's recommendations.

The President also penned a statement to Facebook Thursday afternoon, in which he said that "Americans should be deeply troubled" by both shootings.