News / USA

Holder Vows Fair, Thorough Probe in Ferguson Shooting Case

Holder Vows Fair, Thorough Probe in Ferguson Shooting Casei
X
Jim Malone
August 21, 2014 6:57 PM
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is promising a fair and thorough federal investigation into the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Holder spoke about his visit to Ferguson in unusually personal terms to reporters upon his return to Washington, and VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is promising a fair and thorough federal investigation into the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Holder spoke about his visit to Ferguson in unusually personal terms to reporters upon his return to Washington.

A day after his visit to Ferguson, Holder sought to assure community leaders and citizens that the Justice Department takes its role in the case seriously.

“Our investigation will be fair, it will be thorough and it will be independent,” he said.

During his visit, Holder met with law enforcement, community leaders and the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer after a confrontation in a street of the St. Louis suburb, in the central U.S.  Witnesses have given different accounts as to what led to the shooting.

Takeaway lesson

During his Washington news conference, Holder was asked about the most important thing he learned from meeting with community leaders and citizens in Ferguson.

“A desire to be seen as equals and a real desire to have healing. There is a real fracture out there now that I think people are really trying to work their way through and as I indicated to them, I think out of this tragedy comes a great opportunity for reforming that community,” he said.

Ferguson has been calmer in recent days and the involvement of the federal government may be helping, according to Howard University expert Greg Carr.

“They are sending a message, a very strong message that they will be watching, that they will be side-by-side with local government and that this case must be handled with the greatest care and concern for objectivity, fairness and justice,” he said.

Holder was sent to Ferguson by President Barack Obama with the hope of reassuring the local community. Obama was elected as the country’s first African-American president in 2008, and Holder became the nation’s first African-American attorney general in 2009.

In his meeting with community leaders, Holder recalled some of his own encounters with police as a young man and the anger and humiliation he sometimes felt.

Healing process begins

Analyst and author Sam Fulwood of the Center for American Progress said both Holder and Obama can have an impact in the wake of Ferguson. He also said, however, the healing process will take time.

“I think it is important that they speak out and that they do it because it moves us further along the road than we would be if they didn’t," he said. "But I think there is a totally unrealistic expectation that when the president says something, people automatically salute and things change.”

The shooting incident in Ferguson and its violent aftermath has also drawn fresh attention to longstanding, deeper issues of race and class differences in the U.S., said Georgetown Law Professor Anthony Cook.

“We live in separate worlds. Still, a majority of black and brown kids go to schools that are majority black and brown," he said. "When you look at residential areas, even some black middle-class neighborhoods, those neighborhoods continue to be predominantly minority.”

In the meantime, the international spotlight remains on Ferguson as the latest test of the country’s ability to come to grips with issues of race and violence. Michael Brown’s funeral is set for Monday in St. Louis.

  • A man sells T-shirts along the roadside in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • National Guard troops stand guard inside a shopping center parking lot in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • People gather outside the White House as part of a "National Day of Rage" protest against the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • Protesters march near the spot where Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • Protesters march in the street as lightning flashes in the distance in Ferguson, Missouri., Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Demonstrators shout "Hands up, don't shoot," in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Police officers patrol a street while demonstrators take part in a march in support of the protests against the killing of Michael Brown, New York City, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • A woman holds a sign during a protest against the shooting of Michael Brown. Oakland, California, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Several hundred demonstrators march through Oakland, California during a protest against the shooting of Michael Brown, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Attorney General Eric Holder greets Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant in Florissant, Missouri Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bradley J. Rayford, 22, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 20, 2014.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
August 22, 2014 12:07 PM
The Ferguson shooting incident involving the black teen Michael Brown is a minor incident, but the racial color that has taken, that' enormous. Anyway, our president as well as the Justice Dept. chief have wielded a fair, thorough responsibility. And, certainly it's going to take place very soon. A lot of credits go to the community leaders of Ferguson who have endeavored to calm our people down. The shooting incident of Michael Brown teaches a great lesson to America - the tinge of raciality can raise its ugly, monstrous heads and spread its evil tentacles to grapple the entire country. For that, entire America should remain cautious ahead, people of all walks........ Till todate, we do necessiate a complete national harmony.

by: Lestino from: Florida
August 22, 2014 10:09 AM
The cop deserves a medal in my book, He's like Superman. Risking his life every day in Ferguson to uphold Truth, Justice and the American Way against the Obama supporters who would bring depravity and chaos.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs