Holder asks for patience in Ferguson probe

 

Attorney General Eric Holder called Monday for patience from an American public consumed with the fatal police shooting of an unarmed teen in Missouri, saying the Justice Department’s civil rights probe would not be rushed.

Holder, who plans to head to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday, said the agency’s full resources are being directed to the federal investigation. Some 40 FBI agents were canvassing the neighborhood where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and had conducted “several new interviews,” he said.

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Further, Holder said a separate federal autopsy was conducted Monday by one of the U.S. military’s most experienced medical examiners.

“I am confident this additional autopsy will be thorough and aid in our investigation,” he said.

But Holder said he was troubled by the “selective release” of information from other ongoing investigations of the shooting, which has touched off a week of unrest and looting in the town.

Earlier Monday, it was widely reported that an initial autopsy performed in accordance with the wishes of Brown’s family revealed that the teen had been shot six times. Brown's mother has called for the arrest of officer Darren Wilson, whom police have identified as the man who shot Brown.

“I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation,” Holder said. “No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation.”

While in Ferguson, Holder plans to meet with FBI investigators and federal prosecutors on the ground. He also announced plans to dispatch additional DOJ personnel to aid in crowd control and efforts to stem the unrest in Ferguson.

He has put no timetable on the expected length of the federal probe, which would be allowed to run its course, he said.

“This is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond,” Holder said.