“I think that what had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest,” he said.
The President conceded, however, that "there was no excuse for criminal acts."
"Whoever fired those shots shouldn’t detract from the issue," Obama said. "They’re criminals. They need to be arrested.”
“And then, what we need to do is to make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law enforcement who have a terrifically tough job and people who understandably don’t want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that we’re able to work together to try to come up with some good answers."
Obama also tweeted out his sympathies from the official White House handle following the shooting, again condemning the violence.
"Path to justice is one all of us must travel together," said Obama.
The late-night demonstration unfolded hours after the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson on Wednesday. His resignation followed the release of an investigation by the Department of Justice last week, citing "substantial evidence of racial bias among police and court staff in Ferguson."
In the week following the report, the city's court clerk was fired and the municipal judge, the city manager, and two police officers voluntarily stepped aside, reports AP.