Obama also said “there’s no excuse for excessive force by police.”

President Obama opened the door Monday to re-evaluating a massive Defense Department program that sends military equipment to local police forces, in the wake of concerns about the St. Louis County Police Department’s response to riots and protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

“There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred,” Obama said.

The president spoke at the White House briefing room late Monday, during a pause in the capital from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. As he has before, Obama walked a fine line in addressing the sustained violence and unrest in the St. Louis suburb over the killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer.

He said most demonstrators are protesting peacefully, but said a “small minority” are not. To those looting and attacking officers, Obama said their behavior “undermines, rather than [advances] justice.”

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