Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

As Ferguson Police-Protester Clashes Escalate, Congress Wades In (Video)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Updated 12:53 p.m. | Lawmakers are beginning to speak out in reaction to the protests and police response in Ferguson, Mo., following the killing of an unarmed African-American teenager by police on Aug 9.

Many members of Congress are defending the public’s right to protest while calling for peace — and are using social media to voice their support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote on Facebook, “This is America, not a war zone. The people of Ferguson, Missouri just want answers. We all want answers.”

Local police have dramatically increased their response to the protests after incidents of looting and confrontations following Michael Brown’s death. President Barack Obama was scheduled to give a statement Thursday afternoon from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is vacationing, and may address the events in Ferguson.

Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said in a statement that he is “deeply disturbed by all I have seen and heard,” and noted he and three other Democrats are calling for a full federal investigation into Brown’s death.

“Ferguson deserves better, and the rights of our citizens and of our free press shall not be denied,” Cleaver said. “I will pray for peace in Ferguson. And I will work for justice.”

In an appearance on MSNBC, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., called for President Barack Obama to federalize the Missouri National Guard to take control of the streets of Ferguson away from local authorities to protect protesters.

“This is not China or Russia or Syria,” the longtime congressman and civil rights leaders said in a statement. “This is America, and in this country we have a right to protest in a peaceful, orderly non-violent fashion, and the press should be free to cover these protests without fear. The police should not interfere in the exercise of these constitutional rights. If people are not allowed to express their dissatisfaction through peaceful protest, they will find other means to make their voices heard.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, called on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in a Twitter message to “take control” of the situation in Ferguson. Nixon will be in the area Thursday, and posted on Twitter that he would begin the day listening to faith and civil leaders at a church.

In statement, Nixon called on community members to “demonstrate patience and calm” during the investigation, and on law enforcement offers to “keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press during this difficult time.”

After two reporters covering the protests were arrested Wednesday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, defended the press and called for peace on Facebook. “Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs. Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer,” Cruz wrote. “Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served.”

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said she is continuing to monitor the events, and on Wednesday spoke with Molly Moran, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice, about the status of the federal investigation.

“As we continue to grieve for Michael and his family, I’m working to make sure the federal piece of the investigation is fair, transparent, and moving forward without delay,” McCaskill said in a statement, adding she would also reach out to local officials and religious leaders.


CBC Members Call for Full DOJ Investigation Into Ferguson Shooting

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

  • Jack Everett

    LOL bigot wing nuts on parade again supporting murder and racism.

    • Joshua

      who’s drinking the kool aid, Jack? lets see. Ferguson, MO- 80% democrat. St. Louis County MO- 57% democrat. St Louis Police Union contolled by whom???? hmmmmm, I wonder. please google the history of the Demokkkratic party

      • fourCatssoon

        Normal Heritage foundation handler response. They must have just been paid to do today’s misdirection and lies.

        • Joshua

          right, but more of a CATO guy myself….

  • JosephDygas

    Regardless of the circumstances of what happened, there is no excuse for rioting and burning homes and business and vehicles. This kind of despicable public behavior is promoted by the democratic party and Baraq O because as he has said, …”these are people like him…”. Events such as these are precisely why the black community gets tagged with a negative stereotype. Street justice is not the answer, America has a civil system for justice but evidently the black population has not yet learned how to do it.

    • fourCatssoon

      Sounds like a comment from Tom Cruz or Rand Paul. these two are the craziest Repub in Congress. Image the level of mentally that voted these two Buffoon’s in office. They want total jailing of anyone who wants answers – what do they think this is – America? Yes, Buffoon it is your type of people that encourages this type reaction and shoot them first mentally. The Police Chief should be fired immediately and the guy who shout the kid sit in jail and see if he likes this style freedom!

    • erick

      Regardless of the crisis created by the wall street coke sniffers, there is no excuse to reduce the working class to the status of 3rd world peasants then proceed with a genocidal extermination policy in a CLASS WAR using a militarized civilian police force. Laws are made by people in power because it is in their class interest. If a situation arises where a particular law is not in the ruling class’ interest they will change the law to be in their class interest, ignore the law, or violate their own law. If you have respect for laws you are a fool. Laws are the formalized means by which the ruling class represses the working class.

      • JosephDygas

        I sure the authorities don’t try to contain all the anarchists, looters and 3rd world disrupters by themselves. After, the rest of us have over 300 million firearms and they can be real handy in cases of civil rebellion by the mobs.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Justifiable Outrage

    Could somebody explain what that term – Justifiable Outrage – means in reaction to the protests and police response in Ferguson, Mo., following the killing of an unarmed African-American teenager by police on Aug 9.

    The unreasonable use of force by the government is a bad thing. So bring in the state police? Will there be a free speech zone for protests? Will Sharpton’s input be positive?

    What should happen next?

  • supply4175

    Anything that could be deemed racial they use it as an excuse to loot, steal
    and destroy. No sensible peaceful protests to get their opinion across. No they resort to violence as always. They’re thinking is I could care less about Brown what can I get out of this. I’m gonna get me that TV set and stereo equipment for free. Go back to all of the riots in the past and almost all have been racially motivated and all have been started by blacks with looting, stealing burning cars and bldgs involved

    • erick

      Wall street criminals used the crisis they created to loot, rape and pillage the American public. 7.7 trillion dollars were extorted from the American taxpayers when Secretary of the Treasury Paulson meted out justice against his political enemies. Now a militarized police force has become necessary to proceed with the genocidal CLASS WAR against the working class.

  • Ray

    They keep saying the elected official are all white why don’t they step up & run for office & vote for themselves if that is what they think the problem is. Its easy to point out problems the key is to fix them. Breaking into & destroying innocent store & business owners just shows what the real truth is. If you want to be like the Pharisee’s, an eye for an eye, then that is how GOD is going to deal with us. Jesus has already fulfilled the laws, we are ALL sinners who need to be FORGIVEN. With all these people out in the streets how many of them have reached out to that family that are in need! Stop & think for a moment people who really is in control. “Vengence is mine, & retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of calamity is near, & impending things are hastening upon them.”(Duet. 32:35)

  • disqus_iCgF4UjXVT

    These protesters are playing the “Ghetto Lottery.” They all lie about what happened in order to give grounds for a suit against the city. The insurance company of the city usually settle out of court to avoid a costly and long trial. This means that if there is money given, all those that lied will get a portion of the money. so that means they all are further ahead. If no money is given, they have not lost anything because there is never any charges for lying in these kinds of cases. These people have been so brain washed by people like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton that the man is holding them down, and every thing that happened to them is because the man is a racist. These people begin to believe that. Now in spite of the fact that this police officer requires medical attention for server injuries to his face, they do not believe that this guy attacked the police.They have no trouble believing that the suspect was stopped for no reason other than he was black. Then to add to this they seem to think that you have to resist the police in order to be a man in the black neighborhood. NO folks it is not racism it is behaviorism..

  • kat-dis

    I guess its o.k.for black on black crime or black on white crime where as Jesse Jackson all Sharpton. They do nothing but make things worse. I guess this has given people a reason to riot and steal and t ion the communities they live in.


    Gaza doesn’t seem so far away anymore.

  • Elena63

    Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said in a statement that he is “deeply disturbed by all I have seen and heard,” and noted he and three other Democrats are calling for a full federal investigation into Brown’s death.

    A full Federal investigation? Oh, puleeze, Where is the “full Federal investigation” into 2 illegal invaders (who had been deported multiple times & kept coming back) shooting to death our Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega on Aug 3? I would like answers to that! The rest of the country should be demanding answers to that but I don’t hear anything coming from BO, or Rev Al or good ol’ boy, Jesse.

  • cholula1111

    The practice of nationalizing and militarizing U.S. police departments has been going on in earnest for well over a decade. It didn’t mysteriously happen by accident, either.

    This was a planned, national program led by the “Homeland Securitat”
    department, to make the U.S. a centrally-controlled, Third World level fascist
    state, just like Russia, China, and other countries ruled by totalitarian regimes.

    If anyone believes that most of their political representatives are actually planning to derail this trend, then they are sadly mistaken, and poorly informed.

    Heck, the Bush administration hired the former head of the KGB, Yevgeny Primakov, and the former head of the East German Stasi, Markus Wolf, to come to DC as highly paid, long-term, contracted consultants in the then-new Homeland Security department, only a few months after 9/11. What
    do you think they were hired to consult about?

    Only a few years before they were hired, these two men were prevented by law from even entering the U.S., because they were considered to be enemies of the state.

    You can learn more about these men, and their hiring at your expense, by searching on Google, or your favorite search engine. CNN, and other major media outlets reported on their hiring back in 2002, but those articles have since disappeared.

    • erick

      This is very interesting. I followed up on your information and researched these men and their consulting work for the US government. Thank you for the information.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...