The Republican lieutenant governor stressed to Fox News that he has seen nothing from the Justice Department’s involvement yet in the Michael Brown shooting case to give him cause for concern.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who has come under fire from members of the Congressional Black Caucus for not expanding their investigation to the entire police department in Ferguson, Mo., met yesterday morning with President Obama in Massachusetts, where Obama is on vacation, to discuss the case.
“The federal civil rights investigation into the shooting incident itself continues, in parallel with the local investigation into state law violations,” Holder said in a statement Thursday. “Our investigators from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s office in Missouri have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting incident on Saturday. Our review will take time to conduct, but it will be thorough and fair.”
Holder spoke by phone with the parents of the slain teenager this morning.
“I think it’s entirely praiseworthy that he would speak to the parents. I don’t find any basis for criticism there,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R-Mo.) said.
“We know that the Department of Justice has in the past, in some previous cases, put their thumb on the scales of justice,” Kinder added. “I, to this point so far, I have not seen that, and I hope we don’t see that as this process goes forward.”
“People have the right, a right we will defend, to peaceably assemble in the streets, but we do not decide these questions in the streets. This is America. We have legal processes.”
Kinder stressed he was “delighted” to hear the county prosecutor announce yesterday that the Brown shooting will be taken to a grand jury.
“Missouri is different than many other states in that prosecutors have the option of charging on what we call their own information, that is, their own decision. or they can charge by taking to a grand jury,” he said. “And in that case, it is not the prosecutor doing the charging, but it is the people empaneled in a grand jury. The people of St. Louis county, therefore, will be heard from in the grand jury process. And I applaud the prosecutor for announcing that he will take this to a grand jury.”
Kinder didn’t object to the police releasing the name of the shooter, six-year police veteran Officer Darren Wilson.
“We all knew that the officer’s name would have to be released. The only question was when,” the lieutenant governor said.
“And what we have here is a necessity to protect him and his family. He has not been charged with a crime as we is sit here and discuss this. He may be down the road,” Kinder said. “If he is, he is entitled to all the protections that our jurisprudence system offers any criminal defendant, should he be charged as a criminal defendant, and that includes the presumption of innocence and the right to a defense and counsel and everything else.”