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"To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement."
In the wake of the officer-related shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week, President Barack Obama sought to quash concerns that to say "Black Lives Matter" negates that "Blue Lives Matter," too.
"To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement," the commander in chief said Thursday night, speaking from Warsaw, Poland.
Opponents of the "Black Lives Matter" movement have often invoked a "Blue Lives Matter" narrative on social media and have even held rallies and protests to raise awareness about officers who have lost their lives while on the job. Additionally, many have countered the "Black Lives Matter" movement with the phrase "All Lives Matter."
Obama acknowledged that, when "Black Lives Matter" protests break out, he sometimes receives "well-meaing letters" from police officers asking him why they are "under attack" and why "not as much emphasis is made" of cops being shot.
"So to all of law enforcement, I want to be very clear: we know you have a tough job, we mourn those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives," the president said. "On a regular basis, I have joined with families in front of Capitol Hill to commemorate the incredible heroism that they display."
Obama also praised Republicans and Democrats who have called for criminal justice reform, adding that there is "no contradiction" between praising law enforcement officers and seeking to root out "subconscious" biases within the system.
"When people say Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter, it just means all lives matter, but right now the big concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn’t a matter of us comparing the value of lives," he said.
Earlier in the day, Obama took to Facebook to write that "all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration and grief that so many Americans are feeling" in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Watch the president's remarks below:
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