By Benjamin Goad - 08/11/14 05:08 PM EDT
The Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in a St. Louis suburb over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday.
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will participate in the probe, along with FBI agents from the St. Louis field office and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Holder said.
“At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right. I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days.”
Michael Brown, 18, was not carrying a weapon at the time of the shooting but allegedly attacked a police officer.
The shooting sparked questions of racial bias and touched off violent protests in the St. Louis area, reportedly leading to looting and more than 30 arrests on charges ranging from theft and burglary to assault.
Authorities said two officers sustained some injuries in the protests.
The federal probe opens the door to potential civil rights charges against the yet unnamed officer.
Holder's announcement follows calls for a thorough review of the shooting from members of Congress, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
“Everyone deserves a transparent understanding of what happened here," said Blunt.
— This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.