Nixon pressed on whether he has confidence in Ferguson local prosecutor

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was pressed Sunday on whether he has confidence in the local prosecutor investigating the death of Michael Brown.

Many in Ferguson, Mo., have called for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to step aside over what they deem his long-standing ties to the police force.

Nixon, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," did not outright say that he has confidence in McCulloch, but he said the prosecutor has been elected to the office numerous times. Nixon said he does not want to prejudge the outcome of the case.

The Justice Department and the FBI are conducting separate investigations of Brown's death. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was fatally shot by a white police officer Aug. 9.

"I think clearly he has the experience, he has the office, that people here have elected him, and you don't want to prejudge any of this," Nixon said of McCulloch.

Nixon said that numerous agencies are "working hard" on the case and that there are "a lot of folks working on the street out there to make sure they get this one right.”

Nixon said marches in Ferguson have been mostly peaceful and "uplifting" in recent days. He said the investigation into Brown's death must be transparent.

"In order to get justice, you have to have great investigations with great transparency and I think both of those teams are working hard to do just that," Nixon said of both the federal and the local investigations. On NBC's "Meet the Press," the governor said McCulloch is an elected official and should "do his job."


Retired Capt. Ray Lewis of the Philadelphia Police Department protested on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., last week. (Michael B. Thomas/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Appearing on "Meet the Press," the Rev. Al Sharpton said a "fair and impartial investigation" is needed for justice to be served.

"Too often with local prosecutors we don't get that," Sharpton said.

He said Brown's death must spark broader change.

"We must turn this moment into a movement" that demands real change, Sharpton said.

Speaking on "Face the Nation," Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said Brown's death must set off to a broader conversation about "how the system has failed a predominately African American population."

Clay thanked President Obama for ordering a review of how and why military equipment is given to local police departments, a step that Clay said he and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) discussed with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Clay said Attorney General Eric Holder's trip to Ferguson last week helped calm tensions.

"He brought a calming force here to St. Louis, to Ferguson," the congressman said. "It kind of reinforced people’s trust that at least on one track there will be an aboveboard, thorough investigation on the part of the federal government, especially with the FBI here, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice."

When asked whether he was a surrogate for the White House, Sharpton said that he was in Ferguson at the behest of Brown's family and that the White House called him after he had arrived.

Sharpton said that the president has twice addressed the issue in front of cameras and that he believes Obama's reaction has been correct.

"We don't need the president to politicize it," he said.

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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