Obama Gives Ann Compton Last Question, Fond Farewell

The president pays tribute to ABC News Radio's White House Correspondent after she announced her retirement.
9:40 | 08/18/14

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Transcript for Obama Gives Ann Compton Last Question, Fond Farewell
I'm -- -- the last question from. Somebody who after 41 years and I understand. Has decided to retire. And Compton. Everybody here knows is not only the consummate professional but. It is also just a pleasure to get to know. I was proud to be able to. -- her grand baby recently and I suspect that may have something to do with her decision. But. I just want to say. Publicly and we're gonna miss you and were very very proud of the extraordinary career and work that you've done. We -- another -- around -- Yeah. I suspect you may get some tickets -- -- Let me ask you this isn't an interesting time in your presidency. And one of the things that you have so emphasized in the last few months -- ourselves. Is this reach out to Brothers brothers' keeper to a generation that doesn't feel it hasn't. Sending attorney -- Ferguson business has anyone there -- have you considered going to tell. You personally do not just Ferguson but for communities that might also feel that kind of attention and -- You well in the way. Well. And obviously. We've seen. Events in which there's a big. Gulf between. Community perceptions and law enforcement such perceptions. Around the country this is not something new. It's always tragic when it involves the death of someone -- -- I have to be very careful about not pre judging. These events before investigations. Are completed. Because although. These are. -- issues of local jurisdiction. You know that the DOJ works for me and it when they're conducting investigation I've got to make sure that I don't look like -- Put my thumb on the scales one where the so it's hard for me. To. Address a specific case. Beyond making sure that. -- it's conducted any way that isn't transparent. Where there's accountability. And where people can trust the process. Hoping that as a consequence -- -- And just process. You end up where -- fair and just outcome. But as I think -- -- -- in some past occasions. Part of ongoing. Challenge of perfecting our union has involved. Dealing with the communities that feel left behind. Who as a consequence. Tragic histories. Often find -- -- cells isolated often find themselves. Without hope without. Economic prospects. You had. Young men of color in many communities who. Are more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are. And a good job -- in college. And -- part of my job. That I can do I think without any potential conflicts. Is to get at those root causes. Now. That's a big project. It's one that we've been. Trying to carry out now for. A couple of centuries. And we've made extraordinary progress but we have not made enough progress and so the idea behind something like my brother's keeper is can we work -- -- Cities. And communities. And clergy. And parents and young people themselves. All across the country. School superintendent. Businesses corporations and can we find models that work. That move. These young men on. On -- better track. Now part of that process is also looking at our criminal justice system. To make sure that. Did. Is. Upholding the basic principle of -- is equal before the law. And and one of the things the we've looked at during the course. Where we can make they're during the course of investigating where we can make a difference. Is that there pattern for starter. Young African American Hispanic boy is -- to get suspended. From school. At much higher rates than other kids even when they're in elementary school. They tend to have. Much more frequent interactions with the criminal justice system at an earlier -- Sentencing. May be different. -- -- -- all trials are conducted may be different. And so. -- one of the things that we've done is to include. Department of Justice in this conversation. Under the banner my brother's keeper to see where can -- Start. Working with a local communities. To. Inculcate more trust more confidence. In the criminal justice system. And I -- -- -- I want to be clear about this because sometimes I think there's confusion around these issues and and this dates back for for decades. There are. Young black men the commit crime. And -- and we can we can argue about. Why that happens because. Of the poverty there were born into and lack of opportunity or school systems that failed them -- have you but. If they commit a crime. Then they need be. Prosecutors. Because. Every community has an interest of public safety. If you go and -- -- African American commuter Latino community. Some of folks who. Our most intent on making sure that. Criminals are dealt where there are people who've been preyed upon by. So does this is not an argument that there isn't real crime out there and that law enforcement doesn't have a difficult job and you know that they. You know they have to be honored and respected for. The danger and difficulty. Law enforcement. But what is also true is that given. The history of this country. Where we can make progress in building up more confidence more trust making sure that our criminal justice system. Is. Acutely aware of the possibilities. Disparities in treatment. There are safeguards in place to avoid those disparities. Where. -- training and assistance is provided to. Local law enforcement. Who made -- need more information. In order to avoid. Potential disparity all those things can make a difference what one of the things I was most proud of -- I was in the state legislature back way back when I have no greater and none of you -- pronouncement name. Was. You know I passed legislation requiring. Videotaping of interrogations and confessions and -- passed legislation. Dealing with -- racial profiling in -- And in both cases we worked with -- local law enforcement and the argument was that you can do a better job. As. A law enforcement official. If you have built up credibility and trust and there are some basic things that can be done. To promote. That kind of trust. And -- in in some cases there's just lack information and and we want to make sure that we get that information. To law enforcement. And so there are things that can be done to improve the situation. But short term obviously right now what we have to do is to it. Make sure that the cause of justice and fair administration of the law. Is. Being brought to bear and Ferguson. In order to do that. We've got to make sure that we are able to distinguish between. Peaceful protesters who. May have some legitimate grievances. And may be longstanding grievances. And to those who. Are using. This tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior and tossing Molotov cocktails or looting stores. And and that is a very small minority of folks and they may not even be residents of Ferguson. But -- damaging because they're not advancing.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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