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.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora