President Obama On Baltimore: ‘There Is No Excuse For The Kind Of Violence We Saw’

President Obama addresses Freddie Gray's death and the unrest in Baltimore.

Today (Apr. 28), President Obama addressed the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.

Riots gained media attention last night as local businesses were set on fire, police officers were injured and footage of residents looting stores was shared online. During a joint press conference with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, Obama took his stance against the violence that erupted:

There is no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement; they’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson, and they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunities from people in that area. So it is entirely appropriate that the mayor of Baltimore, who I spoke to yesterday and the governor, who I spoke to yesterday, work to stop that kind of senseless violence and destruction. That is not a protest. That is not a statement. It’s people – a handful people – taking advantage of a situation for their own purpose, and they should be treated as criminals.

SEE ALSO: Freddie Gray: Everything You Should Know About His Arrest And Death

The president also made a point to acknowledge the peaceful protest that took place before last night’s riots. Pointing out that attention has been subtracted from the issue of Gray’s arrest and from the citizens of Baltimore who have concerns, Obama slammed the press’ lack of well-rounded coverage:

The violence that happened yesterday distracted from the fact that you had seen multiple days of peaceful protesters that were focused on entirely legitimate concerns of these communities in Baltimore, led by clergy and community leaders, and they were constructive and they were thoughtful. And frankly, it didn’t get that much attention. One burning building will be looped on television over and over again, and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way have been lost in the discussion.

The overwhelming majority of the community in Baltimore handled this appropriately, expressing real concern and outrage over the possibility that our laws were not applied evenly in the case of Mr. Gray, and that accountability needs to exist. And I think we have to give them credit. My understanding is you’ve got some of the same organizers now going back into these communities to try and clean up in the aftermath of a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place. What they were doing – those clergy and community leaders – that is a statemn. That’s the kind of organizing that needs to take place if we’re going to tackle this problem and they deserve credit for it, and we should be lifting them up.

Rounding out his six-point response with a wide-scoped lens, President Obama brought the point back around to a larger issue:

But if we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could.  It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant -- and that we don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don't just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.  We're paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they're important.  And they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.

That's how I feel.  I think there are a lot of good-meaning people around the country that feel that way.  But that kind of political mobilization I think we haven’t seen in quite some time.  And what I’ve tried to do is to promote those ideas that would make a difference.  But I think we all understand that the politics of that are tough because it’s easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law and order issue, as opposed to a broader social issue.

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8-Year-Old Nigerian Chess Champion's Big Win Helps His Family Out Of Homelessness

An 8-year-old Nigerian chess prodigy is helping his family out of homelessness. Tanitoluwa “ Tani” Adewumi, won the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship last week, beating out more than 70 of the state’s top young chess players, all while living in a homeless shelter.

Tani, who was recently profiled in the New York Times, and his family fled Nigeria in 2017, reportedly out of fear of being targeted by Boko Haram. The family applied for asylum, and have since been living in a New York shelter.

The third grader learned to play chess a year ago at his elementary school, P.S. 116. Tani’s coach, Russell Makofsky marveled at his ability to learn chess so quickly. "His intellect, his aptitude, his capacity to learn chess is off the charts,” Makofsky said. “From not playing to beating the best of the best in one year is unheard of, all while living in a homeless shelter.”

Tani has been getting a lot of attention for his big win. A GoFundMe page launched on March 15 with a goal of raising $50,000 to help Tani’s family “secure a home where he can continue his journey,” has raised more than $182,000. An attorney has also agreed to work on the family’s asylum case for free, CBS News reports.

The family now plans to move into an apartment, and posted an update on the GoFundMe page Tuesday (March 19) sharing their gratitude for the donations, Tani’s chess coach, and the media for publicizing the story. “Our big shout out to the whole WORLD for all your support financially, morally, spiritually and many more can't [be] mentioned. You are all awesome. God bless you all.”

According to the post, proceeds from the crowdfunding effort will be donated to a new foundation that the family will be starting in Tani's name.

See more on his story below.

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Connecticut School Employee Resigns After Racist Grocery Store Video Goes Viral

A  Connecticut resident has resigned from her position at the Hamden Public School District after a video posted to Facebook shows her using racial slurs and spitting on two black people while at a local Shop Rite.

According to The New Haven Register, Corinne Terrone who was a clerk in the district's central office, is seen with her two children when the confrontation erupts. Terrone uses the N-Word three times and spits at a black man and black woman. It's unclear how the clash begins.

After Terrone's first use of the slur, the man on video rushes toward Terrone as she attempts to take her phone out and record. “Put your hands on me, come on!” she says. He then slaps the phone out of her hand. That's the only physical encounter between the two caught on video.

The Facebook post, which has received more than 180,000 views, overwhelmingly supported the black man and woman. A spokesman for the school wrote on the district's website that Terrone "has been separated from employment effective immediately.”

“While it appears as though this happened after work hours on Friday evening, the Human Resource Director contacted the employee and arranged an investigatory meeting with her. Shortly after final arrangements were made for the investigatory meeting, the employee rendered her resignation effective immediately.”

Due to the fact that Terrone's children were present during the verbal assault, the district filed a report with DCF services.

Republican State Sen. Len Fasano and state Rep. Joseph Zullo released a joint statement condemning Terrone's language and behavior.

“What we saw in this video is repulsive and deeply offensive and does not represent the people of East Haven or our values. The behavior is shocking and upsetting and has no place anywhere, including in our community,” Fasano and Zullo said in the statement. “We understand Hamden Public Schools has acted quickly to seek this employee’s resignation. East Haven police are also seeking more information and urging any potential victims or witnesses involved to come forward. Hate speech and violence will not be tolerated in our community.”

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Louisiana Accidentally Paid It's Residents Double This Tax Season, To The Tune Of $26 Million

It's tax season and for most Americans the best time of the year to get a few extra coins put back into their pocket. If you're a Louisiana resident, however, you received double that in an unintended flub by the state.

According to reports, 66,000 taxpayers received double their state tax refund, totaling $26 million in overpayment. The state is now reportedly trying to get that money back.

The Division of Administration spokesman Jacques Berry blamed the blunder on a computer system malfunction, which is why so many residents had a healthier state refund.

Nola taxpayers shouldn't get excited just yet. Berry said in most cases the payments were made through the bank accounts direct deposit and can quickly be reversed. If the money isn't there, the bank will reportedly contact the individual about payment.

Berry released a statement admitting to the oversight.

“As the State of Louisiana continues to recoup more than $26 million to duplicate individual income tax refunds that were erroneously issued as the result of a computer error, taxpayers are being urged not to take any action. The vast majority of the duplicated funds are expected to be recovered electronically,” – Jacques Berry, Director of Policy and Communication

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