Diversity in the police force may help Illinois cities avoid violent protests like those happening in a St. Louis suburb, according to U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Kirk says he’s uncomfortable with police using what he calls “infantry tactics” in response to violence. He believes the situation in Ferguson, Missouri may have been eased if police officers there were more racially diverse.
“Want to make sure you don’t have this us versus them feeling,” Kirk said. “That’s why civilian police, especially civilian police of color, is crucial to these situations.”
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The National Guard has been ordered into Ferguson after more than a week of protests that began after an unarmed African-American teenager was killed by a white police officer.
There have been sporadic calls for Guardsmen to assist Chicago police with gang violence in certain neighborhoods. When asked if that was a viable option given what’s happened in Ferguson, Kirk said he would defer to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.