President Barack Obama met with controversial black pastor Rev. Al Sharpton – the man who never saw racial tension he didn’t like – on Monday at the White House, amid word that he would demand $263 million from Congress to put 50,000 body-worn cameras in U.S. police departments and train local cops to better use surplus military equipment.
The moves came in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Sharpton called the get-together ‘a historic meeting that the president and vice president sat with all of us and law enforcement to commit to not just another commitment, another study … but that he would put his full weight behind it.’
‘We live in a country that we must support law enforcement but law enforcement must support justice,’ he said.
In a brief statement to the press, Obama said that the Brown shooting in Ferguson ‘laid bare a problem that is not unique to St. Louis … and that is a simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color.’
‘He cited civil rights leaders’ opinion ‘that in a country where one of our basic principles, perhaps the most important principle, is equality under the law, that too many individuals – particularly young people of color – do not feel as if they’re being treated fairly.’
Speculation ran rampant on Twitter that Sharpton would attend the civil rights meeting, and his representatives confirmed it just before lunch.
Sharpton, a community-organizer-turned-minister-turned-TV-host, is a frequent White House visitor and has appeared in Ferguson. On Sunday he preached at the St. Louis church where Michael Brown’s funeral service was held.
‘The fight ain’t over,’ he told a capacity crowd.
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