As White House tackles Ferguson tensions, what solutions will it find?

President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House on November 24 after the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Story highlights

  • Local and national leaders address whether President Obama should go to Ferguson
  • Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts: "I think he wants to go"
  • Attorney General Eric Holder will hold a roundtable discussion in Atlanta on Monday
As protesters shut down streets around Capitol Hill on Sunday morning, local and national leaders sounded off on developments in Ferguson, Missouri, and speculation over whether President Barack Obama would make a visit to the area.
Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts, suggested that Obama would like to visit Ferguson.
"I think he wants to go," Patrick said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "And that's not because I know that. I just sense that knowing the man."
Following the news last week that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted, Obama made an address to the country calling for Americans to accept the decision and not to react with violence. However, he also addressed the frustrations of many in Ferguson and across the country.
"The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. 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 President also announced that he had instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to work with cities to build better relations between communities and law enforcement.
The first meeting will occur Monday in Atlanta, where Holder will hold a roundtable discussion with law enforcement, local officials, community leaders, student leaders and faith leaders on race relations and policing in minority communities.
Following the meeting, Holder will speak at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.
However it's unclear whether Holder or Obama will visit Ferguson. Patrick said it isn't surprising that some are calling for a visit from the President. He said that as an African-American governor, constituents sometimes looked to him on matters of race, not just their local leaders.
"The expectations of me by virtue of being a black elected official were different, and I had to learn that."
Although discussion over the issue has been rampant since the killing of Michael Brown in early August, there is still much disagreement over what changes would be effective in addressing tensions between law enforcement and the communities they police.
Wilson submitted his resignation from the Ferguson Police Department on Saturday, but the underlying issues revealed by the incident and response within the community are far from resolved.
New York City is famous for its diversity as well as varied history with policing and violence. On Sunday, former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly offered his thoughts on what needs to change and called on the federal government to invest in diversifying law enforcement.
"You can't have a city that's two thirds African-American policed by a department of 53 police officers where only three of them are a minority. It makes no sense," said Kelly on ABC's "The Week." "A department that reflects the city or the municipality that it serves is much easier to police. It's smarter policing to have that type of a relationship."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, famous for cracking down on violence with policies such as "stop-and-frisk," said better training for law enforcement is a key part of the solution. However, he also said that more violence occurs in black communitiesm, warranting an increased police presence.
"I think just as much if not more responsibility is on the black community to reduce the reason why the police officers are assigned in such large numbers to the black community," Giulani said of "Fox News Sunday." "Train the police and make them better, I tried it hard. We have a diverse police department in New York. You got to work on the other side of it, too. This is not a one-sided story, and it is presented always as a one-sided story."
However, National Urban League President Marc Morial pushed back on Giuliani's comments. As mayor of New Orleans, Morial said he focused on encouraging strong relationships between local communities and law enforcement -- not only reducing tensions, but preventing crimes.
"I think it's better, if you will, to embrace a proactive, and this is the term, proactive policing system where police officers are out on the beat, where they're building relationships with people in the community. Because after all, the way you bring down crime in a community is not simply by making arrest, but by preventing crime from occurring."