Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for hearings on the “use of excessive and deadly force by police.”
The request comes as law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri police tangle with protestors demonstrating against the death of Michael Brown.
“These incidents raise concerns that local law enforcement is out of control and, instead of protecting the safety and civil liberties of the residents of Ferguson, is employing tactics that violate the rights of citizens and hinder the ability of the press to report on their actions,” Ranking Member John Conyers, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Bobby Scott wrote Thursday in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
“This situation requires immediate congressional scrutiny,” they wrote, requesting the committee hold hearings on the matter “as soon as possible.”
According to the three congressmen, the committee must look at how police engage with local populations, particularly African-American communities.
“Mr. Brown’s killing highlights what appears to be a continuing pattern of the use of deadly force by police against unarmed African Americans in cities around the nation,” they wrote.
They further encouraged the committee to examine, what they termed the “troubling arrests” of a Huffington Post and a Washington Post journalist in Ferguson and the arrest of a St. Louis city alderman.
“Finally, the Committee must address the extensive militarization of state and local police,” they added.
The use of overwhelming force by police against unarmed citizens requires our urgent attention,” Conyers, Scott, and Cohen concluded. “It is imperative the Committee convene to examine these issues as soon as possible.”