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Monday, December 22, 2014

CAN OBAMA AVOID SPEAKING ON OFFICER KILLINGS?


By Chris Stirewalt

How long can President Obama avoid speaking publicly on the execution-style killings of two New York Police officers on Saturday? While many officers are killed in the line of duty – 27 in 2013 alone – the New York murders come after weeks of protests aimed at officers and encouraged by the president over the deaths of criminal suspects in Missouri and New York. And since the evidently deranged man who killed the officers seemed to have taken inspiration from the movement, there is a greater obligation for the president to speak forcefully. Another complicating factor: The New York killings come after two of the presidents’ advisers on law enforcement issues, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, have spent weeks denouncing police misconduct. De Blasio even went so far as to say that he worried his own son, who is half African American, might be harmed by police. Obama has issued a written statement about the slain officers, but so far has not appeared publicly.

[“This is an American problem. When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem. And it’s my job as president to help solve it.” â€“ President Obama in public remarks on Dec. 3, the same day a New York grand jury declined to indict an officer for the death of Eric Garner.]

Pressure grows - By comparison, Obama spoke out in nearly real time about the grand jury decisions that helped nurture the protests of police tactics and alleged racism that have continued since the end of September. With police departments across the country on high alert for similar attacks and protests still ongoing, will Obama feel obliged to interrupt his winter break to offer some guidance on the subject? He broke away briefly from his summer vacation to make remarks about the beheading of an American at the hands of Islamist militants. The pressure is growing from police and their supporters for Obama to do the same for the slain officers. Can he resist?


Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News

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