AP

“Criminals" who fired at police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, should be arrested, but not detract from the issues taking place in the city, President Barack Obama said during an interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Thursday night.

"What had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and worthy of protest, but there was no excuse for criminal acts," he said.

Two Ferguson police officers were shot during a protest early Thursday, one in the face and one in the chest. Both are expected to recover. The hunt for the shooters is still underway.

Advertisement

The president called for police and citizens of Ferguson and the country to come together to create solutions and try to bridge racial divides.

Obama cited the Department of Justice report last week that accused the city and police department of racially discriminatory practices. The report led to resignations, including of police officers, the city manager, a judge and police Chief Thomas Jackson.

The president said the report showed that African Americans in Ferguson were being disproportionately stopped and ticketed, so the city could raise money.

"It is not unique, but it is also not the norm," said Obama.

This was Obama's first appearance on the late night show since his 2008 presidential campaign.

Advertisement

While in California, Obama also took the time to participate in one of Kimmel's signature segments - reading mean tweets.

Here are some of the tweets he took the time to read and mock:

"Those weren't that mean," joked Obama. "I've got to tell you, you should see what the Senate says about me all the time."

The president said he doesn't make it a practice to tweet himself.

Geneva Sands is a Washington, D.C.-based producer/editor focused on national affairs and politics. Egg creams, Raleigh and pie are three of her favorite things.