Holder to talk with Missouri senator

 

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she has a phone call planned with Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer last weekend.

Amid clashes in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday night, the senator tweeted that she’s been working the phones to try to deescalate the “tense and unacceptable situation.”

Holder and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett briefed President Obama Wednesday, and the president will receive another briefing Thursday.

Police reportedly used tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators again during violent protests, as questions swirl surrounding the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Police allege Brown tried to attack an officer, but some eyewitnesses say Brown put his hands up to show he was unarmed. Authorities have refused to release the identity of the officer who killed him.

Two reporters, Wesley Lowery for The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly for The Huffington Post, also said they were arrested and assaulted for no reason Wednesday by police dressed in SWAT gear, when the officers cleared a local McDonald's.

People on social media have questioned why Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) has not yet intervened in Ferguson. Nixon eventually released a statement late Wednesday and said he would travel to the town on Thursday.

“The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans,” Nixon said.

Members of Congress have been commenting on the violence, and several black lawmakers called on the Justice Department to consider taking over the investigation of Brown’s death.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Reps. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) wrote to Holder on Monday requesting that the Justice Department expand its investigation.

The Justice Department launched a federal probe to supplement the local police investigation on Monday, but the lawmakers said the St. Louis County Police Department might not be the “most objective or credible body” to investigate civil rights matters, due to evidence that its officers have previously engaged in racial profiling.