News Column

Missouri Senators Back Fed Investigation in Ferguson

August 19, 2014

Chuck Raasch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug. 19--WASHINGTON -- Missouri's two senators, who will meet with Attorney General Eric Holder in Ferguson on Wednesday, back a federal role in the investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown. But they differ in emphasis.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., spoke with President Obama Monday and said he stressed that while it is proper that the Justice Department is conducting a "parallel review" of the police shooting death of Brown, 18, "the federal government should not assume the state and local governments' responsibilities."

Officer Darren Wilson has been identified as the officer who shot Brown. St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch has said a grand jury will hear evidence in the Brown shooting.

Blunt said he will continue to support the two investigative tracks.

"I explained to the president that I've been pleased with my conversations with the Attorney General and civil rights division regarding their helpful understanding that they aren't taking over this investigation, but are conducting a parallel review of the events that led to Michael Brown's death," Blunt said in a statement issued by his office. "I continue to believe that this is the best possible way to arrive at a transparent explanation that would be largely acceptable to all of those who have been impacted in the community by this tragedy."

Sen. Claire Mcaskill, D-Mo., spoke with Holder on Sunday, her spokesman said, and she plans to be with Holder on Wednesday. She also had conversations with White House officials early Monday morning.

"Her takeaway is simply that the federal piece of this investigation is going to be critically important, and is going to continue to track it closely and support it," the spokesman, John LaBombard, said.

McCaskill last week was among the first to raise questions about the "militarization" of the local law enforcement response in Ferguson.

She would not comment directly on Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to employ the National Guard to Ferguson on Monday. Her office issued this statement: "The governor has a very difficult job right now, and we all want him to succeed."


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Original headline: Missouri's senators back federal role in Ferguson investigation, but differ in emphasis

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Source: (c)2014 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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