POLITICS
11/21/2014 08:11 pm ET Updated Nov 21, 2014

President Obama: Don't Use Ferguson As 'An Excuse For Violence'

As the nation awaits the grand jury's decision of whether to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, President Obama said that Ferguson should not be used as an "excuse for violence."

In an interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos that aired Friday night, Obama acknowledged the right to protest over the killing of Brown, but urged that demonstrations remain peaceful.

"This is a country that allows everybody to express their views," Obama said. "But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are."

Obama's interview from Las Vegas was an excerpt of a longer version set to air Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Watch the video excerpt above.

Wilson shot Brown on Aug. 9, under disputed circumstances, sparking fierce protests in and around Ferguson, and a larger debate about race and police tactics.

The grand jury's decision on possibly indicting Wilson has been expected for weeks and may come soon. Guardian reporter Jon Swaine tweeted on Friday night that media had received information about official press conferences and other events after the grand jury makes its decision.

On Monday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the National Guard in advance of the grand jury decision. The FBI sent 100 agents to the area on Friday. Ferguson protesters were arrested on Thursday and Friday, as tension has mounted again. In advance of Obama's interview, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a video to advise police and protesters of how to avoid confrontation.

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