- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Missouri congressman is commending the White House for announcing a review of federal transfers of military equipment to local law enforcement outfits throughout the country — an issue that has received renewed attention in the wake of recent events in his state.

“The program was intended to provide weapons to fight well-armed drug cartels and to respond to any future terrorist attack in a community,” said Rep. Lacy Clay, Missouri Democrat, acknowledging that the House voted recently against a proposal that would demilitarize local authorities.

“But after seeing the optics in Ferguson — well-armed police forces pointing guns at my constituents who are assembled peacefully, I knew that it was time for a review,” Mr. Clay said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Clay is attending the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, a black teen who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson Aug. 9, setting off a wave of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country.

Mr. Clay said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. brought a “calming force” when he visited the area last week.

“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, especially with the FBI here as well as the U.S. Department of Justice,” he said.

Mr. Clay went on to say that the case of the predominantly black city of Ferguson reveals the need to have a more diverse police force and that the forces who do police the black community “have to be sensitive and understand the culture and we have to treat people differently, with respect.”