Paul Ryan On Ferguson: People Should 'Sit Back And Let Law Enforcement Do Their Job'

08/19/2014 07:00 pm ET | Updated Aug 19, 2014
Rob Kim via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) waded into the Ferguson, Missouri, controversy on Tuesday and said the best way to bring about resolution is to let law enforcement do whatever they need to do.

"We should take a deep breath, sit back and let law enforcement do their job," he said during an interview with SiriusXM's David Webb. "Let the investigation take place so that the facts can be taken as the facts, and let justice be done appropriately."

Ryan, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said his thoughts are with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot on Aug. 9 by a white police officer -- an incident that has since sparked nightly clashes between local police and protesters. But in terms of next steps, the Wisconsin Republican said people should step aside to let law enforcement carry out their responsibilities.

"I think it's wrong to prejudge the outcome of these things or to try and attach our own personal political agenda to this tragedy," he said. "It would be disrespectful to this tragedy and the community and to the family, so I think as a public and as leaders, let's let law enforcement do their job."

What Ryan didn't address, though, is that much of the current controversy in Ferguson stems from the use of excessive force by local law enforcement. A militarized and mostly white police force has been turning up nightly -- with tear gas, armored vehicles and rubber bullets -- to counter a group of mostly peaceful black protesters furious about the lack of answers surrounding Brown's death.

Ryan spokesman Robert Swift told The Huffington Post the congressman was making the point that local, state and federal law enforcement officials need to be able to carry out their investigations.

Swift did not respond when asked if that means Ryan supports the militarized police response to protesters.