As raucous protests and an aggressive police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri dominate headlines across the country, some of the likely candidates for president in 2016 have weighed in.
No potential White House contender has commented more forcefully than Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who wrote an op-ed for Time magazine decrying the increased “militarization” of U.S. police forces and the unfair racial bias of the justice system.
The other leading candidates, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have been more reserved in their rhetoric. Rubio told Business Insider in a statement that he was “very concerned” about the violence and the arrests of two reporters Wednesday night in particular.
“Michael Brown’s family is in my prayers during this terrible time in their lives. I’m very concerned by recent events in Ferguson, including the violence that has gripped that community and the inexplicable jailing of two reporters. As the FBI looks into allegations regarding the police department there, I hope Americans all over the country will voice their opinions through peaceful means and not resort to violence,” Rubio said.
“All of our prayers are with the citizens of Ferguson, that the violence will subside and peace will be restored. Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs. Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served,” Cruz said.
Business Insider’s requests for comment to other top Republicans — including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) — received no response.
On the Democratic side of the aisle, front-runner Hillary Clinton’s office acknowledged the inquiry but did not offer further comment. Two potential Clinton challengers — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) — did not return requests for comment. However, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who has repeatedly said she is not running for president yet is still mentioned as a potential contender, strongly condemned the police militarization over Twitter.
“This is America, not a war zone,” she wrote. “The people of Ferguson just want answers. We all want answers.”
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