President Barack Obama is speaking up after these terrible tragedies.
This week, two black men were shot and killed by police officers in two separate shootings that took place within one day of each other.
On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by two cops, when one of the responding officers fired multiple rounds into him, claiming he was armed.
Then, on Wednesday, Philando Castile was shot multiple times by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota as he was reaching for his license and registration.
Related: Celebrities React To Philando's Controversial Killing
Both men died from their injuries.
And now, the Commander-in-Chief has made a moving statement about the poor victims after landing in Poland on Thursday, saying:
"When incidents like this occur, there's a big chunk of our citizenry that feels like, because of the color of their skin, they're not being treated the same. And that hurts. That should trouble all of us…. This is not just a black issue. It's not just a Hispanic issue. It's an American issue."
He also pushed for a more widespread adoption of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that he set up two years ago, adding:
"If anything good comes out of these tragedies, my hope is that communities around the countries can take a look and say, 'how can we implement these recommendations?'"
Obama says that progress hasn't been moving at a quick enough pace:
"Change has been too slow. We have to have a greater sense of urgency about this."
And, the 54-year-old explained the outrage over these incidents is not about "being against law enforcement," saying that he understands not all cops are bad:
"To all of law enforcement, I want to be very clear. We know you have a tough job. We mourn those in uniform for protecting us, who lose their lives…. I've lost family members who were doing the right thing. I know how much it hurts."
"When people say black lives matter, it doesn't mean blue lives don't matter."
However, he implores that the prejudices that do exist need to be removed the system:
"There are problems across our criminal justice system. There are biases that need to be rooted out."
This speech comes after the US leader took to Facebook to address the horrific shootings.
After admitting on social media that he's "deeply troubled" by the recent events, clarifying that he can't comment on the specific details, and touching on the open investigation into Alton's shooting, Mr. Obama wrote:
"But regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what's clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve."
He also exclaimed that we need to seriously change the prejudices in this country, adding:
"To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement."
The President also called the country to unite during this tough time:
"In the meantime, all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling — feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils. Michelle and I share those feelings. Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let's reflect on what we can do better. Let's come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter."
You can read President Obama's full post (below):
In the altercation that led to Alton's death, the authorities had been responding to a 911 call in which someone reported a man matching the 37-year-old's description threatening them with a gun.
Related: Celebrities React To Alton Sterling's Shooting
The police were recorded tackling the father-of-five, pinning him to the ground in the parking lot before firing on him.
However, a second video of the scary shooting shows the father-of-five was not actually holding a gun.
And in Philando's controversial killing, his girlfriend, Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds, who filmed the gruesome aftermath on Facebook Live, said the 34-year-old had told the cop that he had a license to carry, and had a gun on his person.
She says that's when the officer fired on her boyfriend, who was a public school employee.
We are absolutely heartbroken and frustrated by these apparent acts of police brutality, and our hearts are with everyone affected after these devastating tragedies.
[Image via Facebook/Instagram/WENN.]
Tags: alton sterling, barack obama, baton rouge police department, black lives matter, controversy, falcon heights, philando castile, police brutality, politik, r.i.p., sad sad, scary!, shooting, violence