Updated 11:03 a.m. | Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Friday praised a change in police tactics in Ferguson, Mo., that was followed, finally, by a peaceful night in the troubled St. Louis suburb.
"The change in security tactics in Ferguson, and the intervention of Gov. [Jay] Nixon has greatly improved a horrible situation," the Maryland Democrat said. "There is never an excuse for violence and aggression — on the part of the police or citizens — and the right to peacefully protest must be respected. This community has been rocked by the death of a young man with a bright future, and they deserve an opportunity to appropriately express outrage at this tragedy."
Nixon on Thursday put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security in Ferguson, after several nights of violent clashes between local authorities and protesters upset about the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
On Friday, Ferguson police identified Darren Wilson as the officer who shot Brown.
"I was thinking this morning about all this rhetoric about being 'tough on crime.' It's one thing to be tough on crime. I'm tough on crime. But it's something else to be death on blacks. And that's what seems to be happening," he said in an appearance on MSNBC.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, in a statement issued Friday, questioned the aggressive response by Ferguson police to protesters earlier in the week.
“I have been shocked by the military-like response from the local police," the Vermont Democrat said. "No one questions that law enforcement must maintain order, and certainly some of these protests have warranted intervention. But equipping police officers with the tools of war does nothing to repair a torn community ... American streets are not a warzone. They shouldn’t be treated like one.”
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