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(EDGARTOWN, Mass.) — President Obama appealed for calm in Ferguson, Missouri, Thursday and promised an open investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown to ensure “justice is done.”

“Now is the time for healing. Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson,” the president told reporters in Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on vacation with his family. “Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done.”

Obama said he spoke with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Thursday morning.

“I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and underscored that now’s the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened and to find a way to come together going forward,” the president said.

This is the first time Obama has spoken publicly about events in Ferguson since Brown, 18, was shot by a still-unnamed police officer. Obama urged restraint by both law enforcement and protesters.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,”  the president said. “There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

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