2. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President:
"Separate and apart from the particular circumstances of Ferguson, which I am careful not to speak to because it's not my job as president to comment on ongoing investigations and specific cases, but the frustrations people have generally, those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed and so those who are prepared to work constructively, your president will work with you."
3. Cutaway of news conference
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President:
"And to those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that. I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities. But for the overwhelming majority of people who just feel frustrated and pain, because they get a sense that maybe some communities aren't treated fairly or some individuals aren't seen as worthy as others, I understand that. And I want to work with you, and I want to move forward with you. Your president will be right there with you, all right? So that's what we need to focus on. Let's be constructive."
5. Cutaway of Obama at news conference
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President:
"Now, as I said last night, there are productive ways of responding and expressing those frustrations, and there are destructive ways of responding. Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk - that's destructive, and there's no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts."
7. Cutaway of Obama at news conference
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President:
"I have never seen a civil rights law or health care bill or immigration bill result because a car got burnt. It happened because people vote, it happens because people mobilise, it happens because people organise, it happens because people look at what are the best policies to solve the problem. That is how you actually move something forward."
9. Cutaway of Obama at news conference
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, US President:
"So part of that I've instructed Attorney General Eric Holder, not just to investigate what happened in Ferguson, but also identify specific steps we can take together to set up a series of regional meetings focused on building trust in our communities. And next week we will bring together state and local officials and law enforcement and community leaders and faith leaders to start identifying very specific steps that we can take to make sure that law enforcement is fair and is being applied equally to every person in this country."
11. Obama walking off stage shaking hands
ABC News Videosource - NO ACCESS NORTH AMERICA
Washington DC - 25 November 2014
12. US Attorney General Eric Holder at meeting
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Eric Holder, US Attorney General:
"Last night, and throughout the day I have been briefed on events in and around Ferguson. I was disappointed that some members of the community resorted to violence, rather than respecting what I thought were the really heartfelt words of Michael Brown Sr. and the wishes he expressed that he wanted his son's memory to be honoured with non-violence. It is clear that those acts of violence threaten to drown out those that have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators. Those acts cannot and will not be condoned."
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Eric Holder, US Attorney General:
"Also, the need to bring our people together, this is a difficult time, for people in Ferguson, it's a difficult time for people in our country, I think this is an opportunity for us to find those things that bind us as a nation, to be honest with one another about those things that continue to divide us and to come up with ways in which we make this union even more perfect."
US President Barack Obama sharply rebuked protesters on Tuesday night for racially charged violence in Missouri, saying there was no excuse for burning buildings, torching cars and destroying other property after a grand jury declined to indict the white police officer who shot a black teenager.
Obama said he understood that many people were upset by that decision but added he had "no sympathy" for the people in the Missouri town who had burnt cars and buildings following the announcement.
As darkness fell in Ferguson on Tuesday, where authorities hoped to avoid a second night of violence in the streets, Obama said destructive actions are criminal acts and those responsible should be prosecuted.
The president spoke from Chicago, a trip planned to focus on immigration but overshadowed by the news the night before of the decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in 18-year-old Michael Brown's death.
Obama said he understood that many people were upset by the decision.
"The frustrations people have generally, those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed," Obama said.
White House officials are still considering whether Obama should travel to Ferguson, weighing the importance of the moment with the risk of inflaming tensions.
Before he left the White House, the president was briefed by Attorney General Eric Holder on the latest developments and the Justice Department's long-running efforts to restore trust between minority communities and law enforcement.
Obama said he instructed Holder to set up regional meetings on building trust.
Holder said he's "disappointed" by the violence that followed the Ferguson grand jury decision.
He told reporters on Tuesday that he was encouraged by some of the peaceful demonstrations, "acts of violence threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices" and said progress comes from non-violence.
Minutes after the decision not to indict Wilson was announced Monday, protesters poured into the streets of Ferguson.
Some commercial buildings were burned and dozens were arrested.