President Barack Obama took to Facebook to discuss the recent officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn.
In the post, the president acknowledged that while he is unable to comment on the particular facts of the cases, he understands the 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," Obama wrote. "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 gave a nod to the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that was pulled together two years ago, utilizing the knowledge of officers, community leaders and activists to come up with recommendations on how to improve community policing. However, he added that in order for community policing to be truly effective, communities would also need to address underlying issues that lead up to incidents such as the shootings.
"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," the president continued. "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."