President Obama called aspects of the death penalty “deeply troubling” in an interview with The Marshall Project. Obama also said he planned to speed up pardons and commutations and recalled moments when he suspected he had been racially profiled by police. Asked if he is against capital punishment, Obama said he was struggling to resolve his own conflict. He said racial bias, wrongful imprisonment and botched executions had unsettled his belief that the death penalty is appropriate for some heinous crimes. “At a time when we're spending a lot of time thinking about how to make the system more fair, more just, that we have to include an examination of the death penalty in that,” Obama said. He has asked the Justice Department to conduct a review of capital punishment.
Asked if he had been harassed by police, Obama mentioned traffic stops that had him wondering why he was pulled over. “The times where I've gotten a ticket, the overwhelming majority I deserved it,” Obama said. “There have been a couple of times where I was not issued a ticket and it raises the question as to why I was stopped.” In a later discussion, Obama defended the Black Lives Matter movement, the New York Times reports. He said, “I think the reason the organizers used the phrase 'black lives matter' was not because they were suggesting that nobody else's lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was that there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that is not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we've got to address.”