Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderOvernight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Uber leadership sticking by CEO Top Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight MORE told FBI officials in Missouri on Wednesday that his department is investigating whether local police violated civil rights law in connection with the death of Michael Brown.
Holder said the Justice Department will focus on possible civil rights crimes and leave the regular investigation into the Aug. 9 shooting of the unarmed black teenager to state and local law enforcement.
Holder said he has assembled a "very experienced" team of prosecutors and agents, according to a pool report.
"Our investigation is different," Holder told federal officials. "We're looking for possible violations of federal civil rights statutes."
He promised a "thorough and fair" investigation.
The FBI agent in charge, William Woods, and U.S. attorney Rich Callahan were in attendance at the investigative briefing.
Holder met earlier in the day with more than 50 community leaders from Ferguson, where Brown died, and surrounding localities.
He also met with a group of students at Florissant Community College to hear their views of how the local police treat young African-Americans.
At that meeting he recounted his own humiliating brush with racial profiling when he was pulled over as a young man on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Earlier this week, Republican Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntTop Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight Overnight Healthcare: Pressure mounts for changes to GOP ObamaCare bill Pressure mounts for changes to ObamaCare bill MORE (Mo.) pressed Holder not to take over the regular criminal investigation from Missouri law enforcement. Blunt later described Holder as receptive to his concerns.