Ferguson police chief, Sen. McCaskill speak at news conference

BY newsdesk  August 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM EST

Ferguson, Missouri, police chief Thomas Jackson spoke to the press Thursday, calling the situation in the St. Louis suburb a “powder keg,” but said that law enforcement was aiming to “facilitate” the protests.

“What’s happening now is not what anyone of us want,” Jackson said. “We need to get everyone to calm down.”

When asked about the use of tear gas on non-violent protesters, Jackson responded that it was only used under a “threat of violence.”

“If individuals are in a crowd that’s attacking police, they need to get out of that crowd.”

Before leaving, Jackson addressed the idea of military force being used. “The whole picture’s being painted a little bit sideways from what’s really happening,” Jackson responded, saying that response was “not military,” but “tactical operations,” such as SWAT teams.

Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke after Jackson, quickly stating that she was working on the goal of demilitarizing the response to the protests and work to ensure the safety of protesters.

“I work for them,” McCaskill said. “I want to make sure they have the space, the safety, the respect that they deserve as law-abiding citizens of this community, or any community, to protest.”