ByCaitlin MacNealPublishedAugust 14, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT
Sen. Claire McCaskill (R-MO) on Thursday met with members of the community in Ferguson, Mo. and criticized the way police have handled the protests following the shooting of Michael Brown.
"We need to de-militarize this situation—this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution," she said in a statement. "I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right. Today is going to be a new start, we can and need to do better."
McCaskill's office announced that she will speak with Attorney General Eric Holder about the "unacceptable" situation in Ferguson.
The senator on Wednesday spoke with the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice.
"As we continue to grieve for Michael and his family, I’m working to make sure the federal piece of this investigation is fair, transparent, and moving forward without delay," she said in a Wednesday statement. "As it proceeds, I’ll be remaining in close touch with the Department of Justice, and am reaching out personally to local elected officials and religious leaders, to keep monitoring the painful events on the ground in Ferguson."
According to LA Times reporter Matt Pearce, McCaskill drew cheers from the crowd at a church in Missouri on Thursday while discussing the police response to the protests.
Sen. McCaskill says she's been working on "demilitarizing the police response," draws standing ovation at church. pic.twitter.com/05vHqWdElC
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014