Anger after Obama remarks on Robin Williams death, silent on Michael Brown

Should President Obama address the shooting death of St. Louis teen Michael Brown?
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Aug. 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama is coming under fire Tuesday for staying silent on the death of Michael Brown, the teen shot and killed by police in suburban St. Louis Saturday.

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.

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