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President Obama addresses climate in Charlotte following police shooting

The president opens up to ‘Good Morning America’s’ Robin Roberts about protests and fatal police-involved shootings

In mid-July, President Barack Obama took center stage for a special town hall meeting hosted by ABC to address race and policing in America. The discussion took place just days after the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, two men shot and killed by police officers. A month later, athletes, community leaders and locals gathered at the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago for a town hall meeting hosted by The Undefeated to discuss many of the same problems plaguing their own communities.

The ongoing conversations of gun violence and police brutality have been more prominent in recent months due to media coverage and rising numbers of fatal police-involved shootings, which often leave Americans wondering where they can begin to find attainable solutions for such a large problem.

After the most recent, high-profile shooting deaths of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott, whose death led to protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama found himself standing among the artifacts in the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. In the middle of exhibits ranging from boycotts to silent protests, Obama spoke to Robin Roberts about possible ways to heal and protest peacefully after police shootings left communities reeling, hurt and angry.

“I think it’s important to separate out the pervasive sense of frustration among a lot of African-Americans about shootings of people and in the sense that justice is not always colorblind,” Obama told Good Morning America. “What we’ve seen over the last few years is the overwhelming majority of people who’ve been concerned about police-community relations doing it the right way, every once in a while you see folks doing it the wrong way. Looting, breaking glass, those things are not going to advance the cause. In Charlotte, my hope is that, in the days to come, that people in the community pull together and say, ‘How do we do this the right way?’ ”

The president would not comment on the specifics of the Terence Crutcher shooting, but mentioned that the U.S. Department of Justice has been invited to conduct an independent investigation. Obama acknowledged that though police “have a really tough job,” all Americans should be concerned about recent incidents.

“If you have repeated instances in which the perception is at least that this might not have been handled the same way were it not for the element of race, even if it’s unconscious, I think it’s important for all of us to say we want to get this right,” Obama said. “There should be a source of concern for all Americans.”

Watch the full video below.

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Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.