Holder pens open letter to Ferguson

Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to find out "exactly what happened" in the police shooting of Michael Brown in an op-ed published ahead of his arrival Wednesday in Ferguson, Mo.

"This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent," Holder wrote in an op-ed published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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"And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve."

President Obama announced Monday he was sending Holder to Ferguson, which has been gripped by protests since the fatal police shooting on Aug. 9 of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Overnight, more than 30 demonstrators were arrested, as police officers reported gunfire.

Holder, addressing some of the complaints raised by protestors, argued that "good law enforcement requires forging bonds of trust between the police and the public."

"Enforcement priorities and arrest patterns must not lead to disparate treatment under the law, even if such treatment is unintended," Holder wrote. "And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve."

But the attorney general also urged the Ferguson community to join him in condemning the violence that has surfaced in some of the protests.

"Violence cannot be condoned," Holder wrote. "I urge the citizens of Ferguson who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters, vandals and others seeking to inflame tensions and sow discord."

Holder was briefed earlier Tuesday about the preliminary findings of the federal government's autopsy of Brown, CBS News reported. While in Missouri, he plans to meet with Justice Department officials who have been investigating the shooting.

More than 40 FBI agents, as well as members of the Department's Civil Rights Division, have descended on Missouri to assist with the investigation.

Holder said he hoped officials and the community would be able to convert the dialogue surrounding Brown's death "into concrete action."

"And it is painfully clear, in cities and circumstances across our great nation, that more progress, more dialogue, and more action is needed," Holder said.