President Barack Obama said on Saturday that the prevalence of guns in U.S. society is one factor behind American violence and the fact that there was a gun in the car contributed to the shooting of a black Minnesota man last week.
"In Minneapolis, we don’t know yet what happened, but we do know that there was a gun in the car that apparently was licensed but it caused, in some fashion, those tragic events," Obama told reporters. "We can’t just ignore that and pretend that that’s somehow political ... it is a contributing factor –not the sole factor – but a contributing factor to the broader tensions that arise between police and the communities where they serve."
Mr Obama said on Saturday that the black U.S. military veteran alleged to have killed five policemen in Dallas is not representative of African-Americans.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Leslie Adler)
San Francisco — Thousands of people took to the streets in U.S. cities on Friday to denounce the fatal police shootings of two black men this week, marching the day after a gunman killed five police officers watching over a similar demonstration in Dallas.
Protesters clogged roadways in New York City, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and events in San Francisco and Phoenix also drew large crowds. Local media reported that there were no immediate instances of injuries or a significant amount of arrests.
Local media in Phoenix reported police in riot gear used pepper spray on protesters.
Thousands marched in Atlanta in what appeared to be the largest demonstration, chanting and waving signs demanding justice, video posted to social media showed. Footage from broadcasters showed the massive crowd facing off with dozens of police vehicles that were stopped on a local interstate highway.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that the rally was largely peaceful, though about 10 people had been arrested.
Friday was the second day of demonstrations against use of force by police in the wake of the fatal shootings of 32-year-old Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota and 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Castile was killed by police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, and his girlfriend posted live video on the Internet of the bloody scene minutes afterward.
Sterling was killed on Tuesday during an altercation with two white police officers outside a convenience store. Graphic video of that incident caused an outcry on social media.
"No justice, no peace, no racist police," demonstrators shouted late on Friday in Baton Rouge, where state and local police in riot gear tried to keep them from blocking a busy roadway.
The two shootings stoked racial tension that has flared repeatedly across the country following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Thursday's demonstrations were largely peaceful until gunfire erupted at a Dallas rally that was winding down.
Authorities said 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a black U.S. military veteran of the Afghan war who said he wanted to "kill white people," launched a sniper attack that killed five police officers and wounded nine other people.
Police killed the gunman with a bomb-carrying robot after cornering him in a parking garage, ending an hours-long standoff.
(Additional reporting by Bryn Stole in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Clarence Fernandez)