Leahy Comments On Protests In Ferguson, Missouri

“Like many Vermonters, and thousands of people across the country, I am saddened by the news that an unarmed teenager was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last weekend.  Details continue to emerge about this tragic event, and residents of Ferguson are understandably grieved and angry.

“I have been shocked by the military-like response from the local police.  We know in Vermont that effective policing requires the trust of the community; that trust has been more than strained in Ferguson. No one questions that law enforcement must maintain order, and certainly some of these protests have warranted intervention.  But equipping police officers with the tools of war does nothing to repair a torn community.

“The relationship between the residents of Ferguson, and the local police force that is charged with protecting them, needs repair.  The people of Ferguson believe law enforcement neither listens nor respects them. Peaceful protests are to be expected.  But American streets are not a warzone. They shouldn’t be treated like one.”

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