Clay thanks Obama for hardware review

Getty Images

Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) on Sunday thanked President Obama for establishing a review of federal programs that provide military equipment to local police. 

Clay, who represents Ferguson, Mo., said the initial police presence in the town during protests over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown warranted a reevaluation of the policy. 

"After seeing the optics in Ferguson of well-armed police forces pointing guns at my constituents who were assembled peacefully…I knew that it was time for a review,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I want to thank the president for announcing that review." 

The administration announced the review Saturday after Clay and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week.

Earlier this year, 355 congressmen, including Clay, voted against an amendment that would have ended the Pentagon program that supplies surplus military equipment to local police. 

The program was originally established to fight well-armed drug cartels and to respond to terrorist attacks, Clay said. 

Protests and police arrests have calmed in the last few days, which Clay attributed to Attorney General Eric Holder's visit last week. 

"I think this past week, with the presence of Attorney General Holder, he brought a calming force here to St. Louis, to Ferguson,” he said. “And it kind of reinforced people's trust that at least on one track there will be an above board, thorough investigation on the part of the federal government," he said.   

The protests in Ferguson wrapped up Saturday largely before midnight and police were dressed in regular uniforms rather than riot gear, according to local reports. Only three people were arrested on Saturday.

More in News

Video shows traffic stop prior to Walter Scott shooting

Read more »