HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — President Barack Obama says his message to the people of Ferguson, Missouri, as they await a grand jury's decision in this summer's fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man is to "keep protests peaceful."
Obama told ABC News in an interview taped Friday that everyone has the right to express their views and to peacefully assemble to protest actions they think are unjust.
But using any event as an excuse to carry out violence is unacceptable, he said when asked for his message to the people of Ferguson and others who are looking to protest.
"I think first and foremost, keep protests peaceful," Obama said in the interview, which was taped in Las Vegas after he delivered a speech about immigration.
"This is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble, to protest actions that they think are unjust," Obama said. "But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law, contrary to who we are."
The full interview is scheduled to air Sunday on ABC's "This Week." The network released Obama's comment about Ferguson on Friday night.
A grand jury is deciding whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The fatal shooting sparked days of sometimes violent protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, and law enforcement officials there have been preparing for the possibility of further unrest after the decision is announced.