Pete Hoekstra: Left, Right 'Can Be Together' on Police Militarization

Friday, 15 Aug 2014 12:21 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Liberals and conservatives could find common ground on the militarization of local law enforcement, in light of the police response following the death of an unarmed black youth in Ferguson, Missouri, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"It is a possibility where the left and the right can be [together]," Hoekstra said Friday, though admitting it was "very, very difficult to evaluate the tactics" of the police in Missouri from afar.

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday the State Highway Patrol would take over the security in Ferguson, after days of protests and violence following the death of an unarmed black teenager. Tensions flared after a policeman shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday, and local police in Ferguson responded to violent protests with a seemingly heavy-handed approach.

Hoekstra admitted the need for government officials to have the capability to combat the weaponry of criminals and gangs, especially agents working at the southern United States border.

"As the criminals, the gangs get greater degree of weapons, more sophisticated weapons, law enforcement needs to keep up with that capability. It has to be a balanced approach, and a balanced discussion before we move forward," Hoekstra said.

President Barack Obama addressed the incident in a press conference on Thursday, appealing for "peace and calm" in Ferguson, and Attorney General Eric Holder pledged the Department of Justice would investigate the incident.

The local police force that responded to the protests after Brown's death were "overwhelmed," Hoekstra said, adding concern about the escalation in emotions that can take place when federal officials get involved in local matters.

"What I was concerned about earlier in the week is, you get the president involved, you get the attorney general involved, you get the FBI involved, all on this one case. I'm not saying this case isn't important, but federalizing this case from almost day one escalated and helped create the kind of violence that you saw there for three days," he said.

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