North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) this week, told WUNC on Wednesday that the CBC is “laser-focused on what’s happening in Ferguson.” He added, “We are very, very concerned about it.”
Butterfield, a former Superior Court judge and civil rights attorney, said in an interview with WUNC, the North Carolina Public Radio affiliate, that he expects a report from the grand jury in the Michael Brown shooting case next week.
“I was a judge, as you probably know, for fifteen years in North Carolina and I presided over many grand juries,” the congressman said. “So I would certainly hope that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, will find that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a crime probably was committed, to lay out that crime, and to let a jury of twelve in Missouri decide the guilt or innocence of the police officer. ”
Butterfield didn’t say whether he had seen any evidence indicating that a crime “probably was committed.” Nevertheless, he had a stern warning for the grand jury: “If they turn their backs on justice there will be…there will be pushback from those who are concerned about it — and I’m one of those who’s concerned about it. There will be pushback. We will be asking questions.”
The North Carolina congressmen, who has represented his district since 2004, said he hopes that any demonstrations in Ferguson will be peaceful and non-violent. “And I would hope that law enforcement would not inflame citizens who want to express their First Amendment rights.”