"The first thing I do is don't try to capitalize on this tragedy with your own policy initiatives," Ryan said in an appearance on "Fox & Friends." "Don't try to link some prejudged conclusion on what's happening on the ground right now."
"What I don't want to do, as a political leader, is try to graft my policy initiatives or my preferences onto this tragedy," he added. "I think that would just be disrespectful."
Ryan cautioned that people should allow the investigation into 18-year-old Michael Brown's death at the hands of a white police officer to run its course before drawing conclusions. The Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry in addition to a state investigation, but the Wisconsin Republican cautioned against allowing the federal government to take on a large oversight role in Ferguson.
"There is no problem with the federal government having a role," he said. "But in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead."
Chris Christie, who, like Ryan, is frequently bandied about as a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, declined to address the ongoing protests altogether in an interview last week.
"I'm not going to get into this business of generalizing against law enforcement officers. It's not right," Christie said.