Missouri’s U.S. Senators are calling for calm in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“We must balance the rights of Americans to exercise their free speech alongside the rights of people to live peacefully and safely in their communities. I join Michael Brown’s family in urging protesters to do so peacefully,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said, urging a focus on community healing after a period of upheaval.
Blunt added that he has been speaking with law enforcement about how the efforts to deal with the situation in Ferguson could have been handled better and went on to stress the tragedy of it all.
“My thoughts are with Michael Brown’s family today, as well as those in law enforcement who continue to protect the rights of all they serve, the National Guard members we ask to step forward during difficult times in our state, and all of their family members,” Blunt said.
“Michael’s death was tragic, and the months since this tragedy have marked a challenging time in Ferguson and across Missouri,” he continued. “Together, I know we can move forward and heal as we work to find better job opportunities in and more investment for challenged communities.”
Monday, the Ferguson grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting of Michael Brown Jr. After months of unrest in the city of Ferguson over the incident, Monday evening saw looting, vandalism, gunfire and arson after the body released its verdict — despite pleas from lawmakers, activists, and Brown’s family for calm.
Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill also called for peace and noted the frustrating many felt with the decision.
“There will be many people who are disappointed in today’s decision, even though it is a result of a deliberate legal process that’s being independently checked by Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department,” McCaskill said.
“While we await the conclusion of that independent investigation–and continue working together for solutions to systemic issues highlighted by this tragedy–I’m praying that the good people of St. Louis and local law enforcement will remain peaceful and respectful of one another,” she concluded.