Missouri congressman: Without justice, Ferguson protests will continue

Ferguson congressman "alarmed" by militarized... 03:34

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said that the federal government must conduct a transparent investigation that gets to the truth about what happened in Ferguson, Mo., or else "there is going to be a problem in the streets."

Clay is set to attend the funeral of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, which has prompted weeks of unrest and clashes between police and protesters in the St. Louis suburb.

Clay, in an interview on "Face the Nation" Sunday, said he doesn't expect the funeral to further inflame tensions.

"What I am most concerned about - and I made a promise to Michael Brown's parents that I would do everything to bring all of the resources of the federal government to this investigation so that it is transparent, so that it is a viable investigation and we get to the truth," he said. "I am more concerned that if we do not get to the truth and get to what actually happened and bring justice to this situation, then there is going to be a problem in the streets."

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He said he applauds and appreciates President Obama's decision to order a review of the government's decades-old policy of sending military equipment to local police forces. Clay and fellow Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week after being alarmed by the heavily armed police presence in Ferguson.

He said the first step that needs to be taken is "a frank discussion bout how we change the way the African American community is policed."

"These people were sworn to serve and protect and apparently that's not happening here. And so we have to change that dynamic," he said. "I think that police should be required to wear a body camera and I think each car, each police car, should be equipped with a camera, so that when incidents like this occur in the future, there is no dispute. It is all on tape and then we can sort out the evidence in a clear way."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.