Obama briefed on violence in St. Louis suburb

People protest as tear gas canisters detonate around them on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)
People protest as tear gas canisters detonate around them on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)

EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) – The White House says President Barack Obama is being briefed on the situation in a St. Louis suburb where police used tear gas and smoke bombs to repel protesters.

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have been sparked by the death of an unarmed teenager who was shot by a police officer. The officer is white and 18-year-old Michael Brown was black.

The White House says Obama was briefed late Wednesday night by Attorney General Eric Holder and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Obama is vacationing on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, as are Holder and Jarrett.

The White House says Obama has another briefing scheduled for Thursday morning.

Earlier in the week, the president issued a statement saying that Brown’s death is stirring “strong passions,” and he appealed for reflection.

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