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President Barack Obama, seeking to calm unrest over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri, declared Thursday that there is no excuse for violence against police or for excessive force by officers against protesters. The president spoke after four nights of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of 18 year-old Michael Brown. Police on Wednesday fired tear gas against protesters and arrested 16 people, including two reporters. Obama said “There’s no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

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