"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.
"The African-American community is not just making this up. It's not something that's just being politicized. It's real.
"We as a society, particularly given our history. have to take this seriously.
"I think everybody understands all lives matter. Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement. Everybody wants their kids to be safe when they're walking to school. Nobody wants to see police officers who are doing their job, fairly, hurt. Everybody understands it's a dangerous job.
"We can't put the entire onus of the problem on law enforcement. I think there's been a healthy debate about police-community relations, and some of the episodes we've seen across the country.
"But we as a society, if we're not investing in opportunities for poorer kids, and then we expect police and and prosecutors to keep them out of sight and out of mind, that's a failed strategy," President Obama said.
President Obama's made the remarks during a White House panel moderated by Bill Keller, the former New York Times editor now overseeing a criminal justice news organization called The Marshall Project. Also on the panel were Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and U.S. Attorney John Walsh of Colorado.
The event was attended by police chiefs and Justice Department officials.