President Obama held a meeting at the White House Monday afternoon to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo., and ways to build trust between police and “communities of color.” In attendance was a diverse group including MSNBC host Al Sharpton, several mayors, the presidents of the National Urban League and the National Council of La Raza, two representatives of the NAACP, the director of the ACLU, GlobalGrind.com president Michael Skolnik, artist T-Dubb, and the founder of the Dream Defenders.
Several representatives of law enforcement were also in attendance, although members of the Ferguson Police Department were not represented. According to Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the president has no plans yet to visit Ferguson, though he remains open to the idea.
What was on the table at today’s meeting? Again, of concern was finding ways to improve relations between police and communities of color.
That’s all well and good, but what concrete steps can the president take to foster better relations between law enforcement and the people? As Twitchy reported, a group called the Don’t Shoot Coalition in early November presented area law enforcement with its 19-point list of “rules of engagement” with the police.
Among the demands was that riot gear not be used and police “wear only the attire minimally required for their safety,” the idea being that such gear served only to antagonize protesters who were naturally peaceful. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay seemed to agree, telling aldermen that “we do not want to appear to militarize our response … so our officers will start by wearing their normal uniforms.”
President Obama is also concerned with the militarization of police, and revealed that he’s drafting an executive order to prevent just that.
And, in exchange, to address the problem of rioting and looting, the president will …
So, is executive action to limit police to a “consistent list of controlled property” the answer? Participants in the meeting seemed pleased.
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