President Barack Obama will meet with controversial black pastor and MSNBC host Al Sharpton on Monday at the White House, as part of a jam-packed day with three separate meetings to discuss the deterioration situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
His administration is considering pushing a new torrent of public messages about the death of a young black man at the hands of a white police officer in August.
Meetings with cabinet officials, with a group of ‘young local and national civil rights leaders,’ and with top law enforcement officials are on his official schedule.
Speculation ran rampant Monday on Twitter that Sharpton would attend, and his representatives confirmed it just before lunch.
Sharpton, a minister, is a frequent White House visitor and has appeared in Ferguson. On Sunday he preached at the St. Louis church where Michael Brown’s funeral service was held.
‘The fight ain’t over,’ he told a capacity crowd.
Alicia Garza, a special projects director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance and a co-founder of the emblematic ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, tweeted a cautionary note.
‘Obama – meeting with Al Sharpton isn’t what’s going to change conditions. Those days are LONG GONE,’ she wrote.
Missouri Lt. Gov Peter Kinder said Monday morning on the Fox News Channel that Sharpton ‘is an inciter of mobs and he demands mob justice.’
The White House did not respond to a request for information about who would attend.
But it said in a statement that the president’s cabinet meeting would concern ‘federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.’
The Associated Press reported that Obama’s meeting with the civil rights community would focus on challenges posed by ‘mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color.’
That topic was a major point of emphasis when the president addressed the nation one week ago as Ferguson burned.
‘The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color,’ Obama said on Nov. 24.
‘Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country. And this is tragic, because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.’
‘The good news is we know there are things we can do to help,’ he added. ‘And I’ve instructed Attorney General [Eric] Holder to work with cities across the country to help build better relations between communities and law enforcement.’
Protests have continued in Ferguson, but have been more muted than the violence sparked last week by a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown after he held up a convenience store.
Wilson resigned his post over the weekend.
Obama’s cabinet meeting will concern ‘federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies,’ according to the White House.
That has been a front-burner issue since the Ferguson shooting in August, when police showed up in force in military-style vehicles that the Obama and Bush administrations provided through programs that distribute surplus Pentagon equipment.