The Buzz

McCaskill, Kinder call for study panels in wake of Ferguson unrest

With the unrest in Ferguson appearing to ease, at least for now, two of Missouri’s leading politicos on Thursday called for panels to look at issues connected to the turmoil there.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said she wants to lead a Senate hearing in September that examines the militarization of local police departments.

From a McCaskill statement:

Specifically, McCaskill—chair of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight— will use the hearing to examine federal programs that enable local police departments to acquire military equipment, such as the Defense Department’s 1033 program for surplus property and grants made through the Department of Homeland Security. She plans to gather stakeholders from all sides in order to hear several perspectives, including those of local law enforcement.

More details to come in the next few days, her office said.

Kinder, a Republican, called for a bipartisan legislative panel to review the state’s response.

Kinder asked that the committee be composed of equal members from both parties and be co-chaired by a Democrat and Republican each from the House and the Senate.

The committee would address four main issues: (1) communication failures by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. (2) a review of the state’s policy toward law enforcement’s use of deadly force. (3) possible changes to Missouri’s Open Records Law to ensure transparency and (4) economic and educational reforms in Ferguson.

Kinder said the events in Ferguson cast Missouri in a grim light. He said the bipartisan committee’s efforts will help to show that Missouri’s elected representatives “are united in their resolve to remedy the problems that led to the Ferguson crisis and map a clear plan for the future.”