There are no plans for President Obama to visit the aftermath of Baltimore’s riots, but the anguish felt by its citizens strikes a personal note with him as he explains in an interview with celebrity host Steve Harvey which aired Wednesday morning. Obama told Harvey that when he travels; “I take a lot of assets out of where they need to be,” and during times of crisis, he tries to let responders on the ground do their work. Although he explained the personal connection he has to what has been driving Baltimore’s unrest.
“The communities in Baltimore that are having these problems now are no different from the communities in Chicago when I first started working” as a community organizer, Obama said. “I’ve seen this movie too many times before.”
The President has been called upon to visit other cities that have been affected similarly, in the past, such as Ferguson, Missouri after the Michael Brown incident sparked unrest last summer. Members of Congress from that state respected and supported his decision to “stay away”, so his added security needs didn’t distract local officials from their already tenuous jobs. Then Attorney General Eric Holder answered the call, and visited the city in his stead and in Baltimore, the local and Justice Department officials are already handling the call.
The taped interview on The Steve Harvey Morning Show which aired shortly after the riots occurred in Baltimore and after his first public remarks on the subject had taken place during a joint press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister.
He told Harvery that the problems in Baltimore and communities like it, must be tackled at the societal level and not just thrust upon an individual police departmental level. He went on the say that community neglect, divestment and joblessness have all contributed to the explosive situations going on in these underserved communities. Taking the time to build up Baltimore and cities like it will take time and require a “political movement” that pushes programs for job training as well as a better infrastructure.
If all we do is to focus on the retraining of our police officers to help them combat police brutality; “but not dealing with some of these underlying issues, then these problems are going to crop up again,” he said.
The first evening the Baltimore mayor’s 10 p.m. citywide curfew was implemented, the city saw very little violence in comparison to the previous days with just 10 people arrested since the curfew was instated. Over 20o arrests were made according to Monday’s overnight count.