President Barack Obama has privately conveyed “real heart-driven concern” about the prospect of another round of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, in the coming days.
Accordingly, he has directed federal agencies to do all they can to lay the groundwork to help authorities in Missouri, especially if there is unrest. But the administration has limited power and has faced some resistance from state and local officials, highlighting the limits of Obama’s role even as he’s likely to face criticism should tensions flare.
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In a meeting the day after the midterm elections, Obama urged a small group of the nation’s top civil rights leaders and their organizations to work to keep the peace while ensuring protesters’ free-speech rights, according to several participants, including one who characterized his position as one of concern.The meeting came ahead of a grand jury decision — expected before the end of the month, with some sources anticipating an announcement early next week — on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Obama also spoke by phone with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday, stressing to the governor that the federal government is committed to providing support to the state as it is requested. The Justice Department has led much of that effort.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to federal, state and local officials from Missouri on a conference call, offering “the department’s continued assistance” and urging “continued and direct communication between elected officials, law enforcement and community leaders in the days ahead to help deescalate tensions and assist with planning,” the Justice Department said in a readout.
The department’s Community Relations Service arrived in Ferguson on Aug. 10 — the day after Brown was killed — and has been on the ground ever sincehttp://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/barack-obama-ferguson-fallout-112854.html?hp=lc2_4