NEW HAVEN >> U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said the wrong way to react to the grand jury ruling in the shooting of Michael Brown is with more violence.
“The legacy of the death of Michael Brown cannot be the images that we saw last night in Ferguson,” Murphy said Tuesday.
The grand jury in Missouri declined to indict Office Darren Wilson in the death of Brown, who was unarmed. Officials and the Brown family had asked for peaceful protests, but there has been looting and rioting in Ferguson.
Murphy, D-Conn., said he hoped the ultimate response will be “the enactment of real change that brings some justice to people who have been treated unfairly in our criminal justice system. We are beyond the point of a discussion. We have to start acting to make things better.”
The senator said the “disproportional treatment of blacks and Hispanics in our criminal justice system” can’t be tolerated.
Murphy said when African American boys act out at school they are twice as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white counterparts.
“We need to do something about that. That should be the legacy of the tragedy in Ferguson,” Murphy said.
Wilson testified before the grand jury that he shot Brown because he felt his life was in jeopardy.
Murphy said he has introduced legislation with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. called the Better Options for Kids Act, which would give incentives to states to punish juveniles involved in nonviolent offenses with alternatives to incarceration, which costs, on average, $134,000 per youth.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he agreed with Murphy and added that the Department of Justice is continuing its separate investigation of the shooting and “hopefully will reach a just and fair result.”
Blumenthal, also D-Conn., said he hoped for other remedies besides the state Missouri criminal system, that can be directed to correcting “any unfairness or injustice that may have occurred to Michael Brown.”
In the meantime, he called for peace in the streets.
Blumenthal tied in a Thanksgiving message and said at this time of the year when we give thanks for so many things as Americans, “we ought to recognize that we are still a work in progress as a country and we still have injustices across our land that need to be corrected.”
He said they can’t be corrected “by throwing bombs or starting fires or injuring law enforcement officers.”
The senator hoped that the federal investigation restores “credibility and confidence in Ferguson and elsewhere where it may be lacking.”
The senators made their remarks after a press conference at City Hall where they were promoting the efforts of the Small Business Administration to boost local retail sales in the last quarter of the year.