President Barack Obama spent most of Monday talking to officials about law enforcement and civil rights issues that are gaining traction following events in Ferguson.
“We know the White House is concerned about the potential for greater unrest across the country,” said Jim Howard, St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington correspondent. “The attorney general’s focus on bridging the divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve actually began about a year before the shooting in Ferguson. It certainly has been raised to a much higher level following the events in Ferguson.
“I think the White House is also potentially concerned about any reaction there might be should the Justice Department come back and say that they do not have enough evidence to return any kind of an indictment under its civil rights investigation that is ongoing,” Howard told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday.
Following a meeting with community and law enforcement leaders, the White House released a fact sheet to help improve policing practices.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 1, 2014
At that meeting, the president was expected to preview an executive order that would mandate federal agencies review how they provide heavy equipment to law enforcement agencies.
Obama also has proposed a three-year, $263 million initiative that would increase the use of body cameras and training for law enforcement agencies.
The president's schedule, according to the White House:
- 11 a.m.: Obama meets with his Cabinet to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.
- 1 p.m.: Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with young local and national civil rights leaders.
- 1:50 p.m.: Obama and Biden meet with elected officials and community, faith and law enforcement leaders to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together.
Obama previously met with young civil rights leaders. In September, Akyiah Phillips of Ferguson, Brandon Hart of St. Louis and the Rev. Willis Johnson of Wellspring Church in Ferguson met with members of the White House staff.
“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.