Rallies are planned in four Iowa cities tonight in response to last night’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, where indictments were not brought against a white policeman who fatally shot a black teenager. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he has sympathy for the family of Michael Brown, who “lost a son.”
“There’s a strong feeling on both sides, the Brown family, President Obama and the clergy all said that violence is not an answer,” Grassley says, “but obviously, people didn’t listen to that or you wouldn’t have had all the fires you had last night.” There were clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson and elsewhere, in addition to gunfire, looting and the burning of many buildings.
Grassley says it’s senseless. “I wasn’t on the grand jury so I don’t have all the evidence that was presented,” Grassley says. “I heard a lot of it on television last night. You have to have confidence in the grand jury and in our system of justice and I do.”
Grassley says those doing violence last night were able to “take advantage of the situation to create the turmoil and the revolution that they think this country ought to go through.” Violence should never be the answer, he says. “We know that violence only adds to the hurt,” Grassley says. “There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protests. It happens that they’re a much better way to get a point across.”
The Ferguson National Response Network says on its website that rallies will be held at five o’clock tonight in Des Moines, Iowa City, Grinnell and Waterloo, as well as in numerous other cities nationwide.