Sen. Claire McCaskill stated that, “There are institutional biases in our criminal justice system.”
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday, McCaskill told Mika Brzezinski, “We have to get out of this, it’s the police versus the protesters.”
Mika Brzezinski: Before you go, we’ve got to ask you about Ferguson.
Claire McCaskill: Yes, please.
Brzezinski: There are obviously, there’s violence, um and but there are demonstrations happening. I want to ask you the same question we put to Emanuel Cleaver. And that is, the demonstrators who are there for peaceful purposes, they don’t feel like a lot has changed. What’s going on? What has changed?
McCaskill: Well first of all, there are institutional biases in our criminal justice system, across.
Brzezinski: No body cams.
McCaskill: But we’ve changed the municipal court system, we have done a lot in terms of job training, we’ve done a lot in terms of recruitment, we have an African-American who is running the Ferguson police department, we’ve elected more African-Americans to the Ferguson City Council. There have been changes. Good people are working hard. And by the way, the state of the emergency was only declared because they needed the county police to have the authority to manage policing. This is a chaotic patchwork of municipalities and unincorporated areas and they wanted clarity to who was in charge. But by and large, this has been peaceful. There have been some outliers who were not protesters that engaged in gunfire. That’s what happened. Um, once again, I, I worry that this narrative that gets picked up, this is us verses them, um that this is, that it doesn’t really help bring us together. And I think this is another example where there is heightened rhetoric around what’s going on in Ferguson. At the moment that the shooting broke out the other night by people who were not peaceful protesters, there were more media people there than protesters. And that has been a recurring theme in Ferguson.
Brzezinski: I tried to focus the question on the demonstrators, but I hear you.
McCaskill: Right, I think we are making progress, but let me be the first to say, we are not, this fabric has been torn. And we are not going to mend it in a year. There is criminal justice reform that has to occur. There is education reform that has to occur. This is complicated, hard stuff, but we have to get out of this, it’s the police versus the protesters. It’s the police versus the African-American community. Because that really is harmful to everything we hold dear in this country.