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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora