Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Wednesday that racial profiling is not an issue in Ferguson, Mo., because those protesting the police killing of a young man all share the same "continental origin."
In an interview on Newsmax TV, King was asked about a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder from Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, raising concerns about police treatment of blacks.
Police officers equipped with military-style uniforms and weaponry have clashed with protesters in recent days, with critics calling the crackdown excessive.
“It looks to me like you don't need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that,” he continued.
"But you know their hyper intensity on that," King added. "I just kind of reject race-based politics, identity politics. I think we’re all God’s children and we all should be held to the same standard and the same level of behavior."
The comments were first reported by Talking Points Memo.
President Obama on Thursday called for calm and a thorough investigation in Ferguson, where the shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked nights of protests.
On Wednesday night police officers fired tear gas at protesters and briefly detained two journalists.
King sparked controversy last year when he said that many immigrant children had "calves the size of cantaloupes" from hauling drugs across the U.S. border.
The Iowa lawmaker stood by those remarks despite criticism from House GOP leaders.