By Amie Parnes - 08/21/14 10:59 AM EDT
Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that "few things" have affected him as much as his visit to Ferguson, Mo., the community where an unarmed black teenager was shot by a police officer earlier this month.
But Holder expressed certainty that the community can have "confidence" in the investigation the federal government is conducting of the shooting incident.
"Our investigation will be fair, it will be thorough, and it will be independent," he said at the Justice Department.
Holder spent the day on Wednesday in Ferguson, meeting with law enforcement officials, community members, students and the parents of Michael Brown, the teenager who was killed by the police officer. During the visit, he also reflected on his experiences of racial profiling and expressed empathy for the community's anguish.
"I spoke to them not just as attorney general, but as a father with a teenage son myself," Holder said.
While Holder said there has been a "real fracture" in Ferguson, "out of tragedy comes a great opportunity for reforming that community."