Obama sees broad coalition for police reform emerging from ‘difficult and scary’ past few weeks

He said the protests have brought together a far more representative cross section of America than existed in the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and ’70s. He noted that recent surveys show that a majority of Americans think the protests are justified.

“There is a greater recognition we can do better,” Obama said.

He dismissed the violence as the work of a tiny minority.

Obama chose a rhetorical tack that was in sharp contrast with recent remarks by President Donald Trump, who has stressed the need for law and order.

Obama urged protesters not to ignore the ballot box, pointing out that most of the reforms needed have to take place in the 18,000 local law-enforcement jurisdictions across the country.

“I’ve been hearing a little bit of chatter on the internet about voting versus protest — politics and participation versus civil disobedience. This is not an either-or, this is a both-and,” Obama said.

“We both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable. We also have to translate that into practical solutions that could be implemented,” he said.

Change will be made by elected mayors, county executives and district attorneys who supervise the police.

Obama said there was a road map to reforming police departments in recommendations from a task force he created during his presidency, called 21st Century Policing.

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