Ferguson: Attorney General Eric Holder Meets Community Leaders
After arriving in Ferguson this morning Attorney General Eric Holder attended a meeting organized by the Community Relations Service (CRS) that included over 50 members of the Ferguson community.
CRS officials have conducted several such meetings on a regular basis since arriving on the ground in Ferguson on August 10th after the first night of protests.
The meeting took place in an auditorium on the Florissant Valley Campus of St. Louis Community College. Among the other DOJ officials joining the Attorney General at this meeting were: U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran, COPS Director Ron Davis, CRS Director Grande Lum, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Kappelhoff, and Margaret Richardson, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General.
The Attorney General spoke for 15 minutes and then took questions from the group. In his remarks to the gathering, the Attorney General said he wished he was joining them under different circumstances. The Attorney General pledged that he had assigned the Justice Department's "most experienced agents and prosecutors" to the investigation of the shooting of Michael Brown.
He explained the statute that gives the Department jurisdiction to investigate this matter. He stressed that while federal prosecutors will be aggressive in conducting their inquiry, the St. Louis County Police and the St. Louis County Prosecutor have a job to perform as well.The Attorney General thanked the meeting participants for working together to find common ground and reduce tensions in the community. The Attorney General asked the meeting’s participants to continue to work together towards improved relations between the community and government agencies, particularly with local law enforcement. A portion of the Attorney General's remarks will be provided shortly.
The Community Relations Service (CRS) is a conflict resolution agency created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. CRS does not take sides in a dispute and is entirely separate from the Department of Justice’s investigative functions. Mandated by statute to conduct their conciliation efforts in confidence and without publicity their important work is often done quietly, allowing the community to speak for themselves.