*Barack Obama claims “institutional constraints” prevented him from addressing the police killings of Black Americans during his time in the White House.
On Wednesday, Obama’s foundation, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, hosted a virtual forum and Barack spoke about the resurgence of activism and the Black Lives Matter movement during a panel discussion.
Obama noted the high-profile killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Alton Sterling that occurred during his time in office but said he didn’t want to interfere with the Justice Department’s investigations into the cases.
“I did not in any way want to endanger their capacity to go in, investigate and potentially charge perpetrators, which meant that I could not come down or appear to come down decisively in terms of guilt or innocence,” Obama said.
At today’s @MBK_Alliance Leadership Forum, we’re talking about the amazing levels of activism we’ve seen since George Floyd was killed—and the need to reimagine policing and public safety. Join us live. https://t.co/p6ucOZgwtD
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 26, 2021
“Keep in mind, in 2012, I won. But I didn’t win congressmen, and we didn’t win a bunch of governorships back. We didn’t win a bunch of state legislators back,” Obama said “And so, all the reform initiatives that we were coming up with and the ideas that had been generated, we weren’t able to translate into as bold a set of initiatives as I would have wanted.”
The forum was held after the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white. Floyd’s death sparked national and international protests over social justice and police reform.
Chauvin was found guilty on April 20 on all counts of murdering Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 2020 by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes until he died. In video footage of the incident, Floyd can be heard repeating, “I can’t breathe.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison. His legal team recently filed court docs seeking a new trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.