Cameron Sterling addresses President at town hall on race
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 15-year-old son of a man who was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge last week attended a town hall hosted by ABC and addressed the president directly.
"I ask that you keep all of these families and my family safe," Cameron Sterling told President Obama at the beginning of the meeting. "And the people and the rest of the good police officers safe from bad people and bad police officers, and I ask for your help to unite all the races of this world."
The death of Sterling's father, Alton, sparked demonstrations in Baton Rouge and across the United States. While most of the events remained peaceful, more than 100 people were arrested in Baton Rouge alone and five police officers were killed and nine others injured in an attack in Dallas.
The President told Cameron Sterling, he's proud of him for calling for peace.
"I think the thing you expressed, Cameron, is what I meant when I said the country is not as divided as it seems."
President Obama called for police departments and communities to work together. During the meeting, he listened to police and elected officials, including Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who expressed concerns about whether the president has done enough.
"I'm concerned that police officers across the country; they know you support law enforcement, of course, but do they really in their heart feel like you're doing everything you can to protect their lives?"
President Obama also heard from Diamond Reynolds. Her boyfriend, Philando Castile, was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota last week. She livestreamed the moments after the shooting on Facebook.
"How do we as a nation, how do we stop what has happened to my family and all the other victims across the world?" she asked."
The President believes it begins with relationships.
"The more police departments know communities and get to know those communities ahead of time, the more trust is built," he opines.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told the President a lot is expected of him and asked for the discussion to continue.
"These neighborhoods depend on us for their safety, and the police depend upon those neighborhoods for their safety," Chief Flynn says.