On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot dead unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
The incident set off mass protests across the United States and launched a national debate about racial inequality and police violence in African American communities throughout the United States.
In recent months, the US Department of Justice has launched numerous probes into incidents of police brutality mostly against African-Americans in Baltimore, Ferguson and most recently, Charleston.
Over the past year, Obama has launched several policy initiatives in the wake of renewed calls for increased education to counter racial bias. The initiatives include investing in police body-worn cameras for US law enforcement agencies around the country and a plan for addressing segregation in US neighborhoods.
"A year later we’re still fighting to make real, significant, permanent change in the laws and the accountability. We cannot be satisfied with just some steps forward. Yes, there are things that have happened — they are good but they are nowhere near enough and they are not permanent,” he emphasized.
Sharpton said the struggle must continue until laws are changed and are being enforced, and "till people understand they would be held accountable criminally when they take unarmed lives.”
The United States has seen multiple protests prompted by high-profile and well-documented cases of police brutality over the past year. Most recently, Baltimore was swept by days of protest riots after after 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April. Six police officers were charged in connection with Gray’s death, all have pleaded not guilty