Watch: President Obama comments on Ferguson, Mo., situation

President Obama today sought to calm the increasingly tense situation in Ferguson, Mo., saying that there is “no excuse” for excessive force by police or for looting or violence aimed at law enforcement.

"Today I'd like us all to take a step back and think about how we're going to be moving forward," he said.

Making a brief statement from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on vacation, Obama said the police have a responsibility to be “open and transparent” about the events that led up to the shooting by a police officer of a black teenager in the city Saturday.

He added that he had asked the Justice Department and FBI to conduct an independent investigation of what happened.

Obama criticized police for their tactics and the arrests of two reporters Wednesday night. “Police should not be bullying or arresting journalists for doing their jobs,” he said.

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