McCaskill: 'There Is Driving While Black in Our Country'

By Susan Jones | November 18, 2014 | 9:14am EST

Se. Claire McCaskill (R-Mo.) (AP Photo)

( - The shooting of an 18-year-old black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., has prompted "rushes to judgment on both sides of the equation," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.

"The rush to judgment by some in the African-American community is, in fact, understandable, because there is 'driving while black' in our country," she said. "There are racial disparities in terms of how people are treated."

McCaskill said the police department in Ferguson is 95 percent white while the community is 70 percent black. "That's a problem," she said.

"We have racial profiling that still occurs all across this country, day in and day out," McCaskill said. "I think we need to be leading, all of us, with how we come together and realize that we can do a better job in our criminal justice system, of making sure there is equal justice for all."

McCaskill praised "many of the police officers" who have "done heroic and wonderful work" in protecting First Amendment rights, but at the same time, keeping "bad actors" at bay.

At one point in the interview, host Joe Scarborough interrupted McCaskill, frustrated that she would not answer his question about what should happen to the white police officer if he is not indicted by a grand jury:

"Claire, I'm talking specifically about this man and his family -- dollar prices placed on their heads by extremists...Does he get his life bacK?" Scarborough thundered.

"Of course, they get their life back," McCaskill responded. "And of course, he should be protected and of course his life should not be threatened. There is absolutely no excuse for people threateneing violence in this issue. and I thought that was pretty obvious, but I will say it. Absolutely inappropriate; If this officer is not indicted, he and his family should be safe and they should carry on with the rest of their life, and people should respect that."

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