Obama, who is currently vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, released a moving statement paying tribute to Robin Williams on Monday afternoon, less than three hours after news of the actor's death broke.
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between," he said. "But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien -- but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit."
While fans lauded the sentiment, its quick release served to only highlight the absence of any comment on Brown's death.
Circumstances surrounding the death of Brown, 18, remain unclear and under investigation. Witnesses say the African-American teen had his hands in the air and was unarmed when he was shot multiple times by police, continuing to fire after Brown was on the ground. Police, who have declined to confirm how many times Brown was shot, said the confrontation began inside a police cruiser and involved a struggle over the officer's weapon.
The Ferguson police have refused to release the name of the officer involved, other than to say he was put on administrative leave, and protests have broken out into rioting and looting.
On Monday, however, both the Department of Justice and the St. Louis office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened inquiries into the shooting to examine whether the incident involved civil rights violations.
"The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri this weekend deserves a fulsome review," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right."
But for members of the Ferguson community, Obama's silence wounds.
Obama failed to release a statement on #Ferguson but immediately released statement on Robin Williams.Advertisement
That's not leadership @BarackObama.— Mr T 2 (@GovtsTheProblem) August 12, 2014
Obama tweeted about Robin Williams but hasn't even touched on what's going on in Ferguson— Larry Kistler (@ashy_but_classy) August 12, 2014
So Obama has made a statement on ROBIN WILLIAMS and not about the Ferguson riots yet? Or Mike Brown? Please tell me I'm wrong. PLEASE.— Amanda Sherrod (@_RecklessHeart) August 12, 2014
It's really baffling to me that Obama went out his way to praise Robin Williams but hasn't spoke on the situation in Ferguson.— ☁ (@skythedon) August 12, 2014
Obama commented on Robin Williams' death, but has yet to say a word on the catastrophe occurring in Ferguson. Need I say more.— Daniel (@littIebuddha) August 12, 2014