President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the riots in response to Freddie Gray's death are counterproductive.
Speaking at a news conference in Washington, Obama said, "There's no excuse" for the kind of violence that erupted in Baltimore on Monday and "it is counterproductive." People looting and burning buildings are not protesting, they are criminals, he added.
"It is not a protest. It is not a statement. It is a handful of people taking advantage of the situation," Obama said.
The president said more should be done to fix the underlying issues happening in communities where young men are more likely to end up in jail than in college.
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He said fixing the problem requires hard work that includes providing early education in low-income neighborhoods, criminal justice reform and making investments in urban communities.
"We can't just leave this to the police. ... We as a country have to do some soul-searching," he said. "If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could, but it requires everybody saying this is important ... and that we don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns."