Holder: Visit to Ferguson 'put a certain damper' on frustrations
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Outgoing Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Joe Biden's continued 'Russian misinformation' defense of Hunter is conspiracy-level laughable Tyson fires 7 after probe into managers coronavirus betting MORE is shedding some light on conversations with President Obama surrounding the administration’s response to unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

In an interview with MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry that aired Sunday, Holder described his thought process, as he and Obama looked to "lessen the street unrest" last year in the St. Louis suburb.

"If the attorney general had not gone out there, if things had not changed, or if things had gotten worse, that would have been seen as not only a personal failure, on my part, but a failure on the Obama administration," Holder said.

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"The president ultimately decided that it was worth the risk," he added.

During his trip in August, Holder met with law enforcement and other officials as well as members of the community, which was roiled by protests and looting following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed.

Holder traveled to the community as part of the Justice Department's investigation into the shooting of Brown, who was black, by a white police officer. A grand jury later declined to indict that officer.

"He [Obama] thought I had a certain credibility, the administration had a certain credibility. That if we did it right that we could have a positive impact," Holder said on MSNBC. "And I think that that was actually what was born out."

"All things were not cured, but I think we put a certain damper on some of the frustration that people felt there," Holder said.

He noted that debate on issues surrounding Ferguson, including the so-called militarization of police and use of force in urban areas, is "ongoing."

Holder recently wrapped up a series of forums between police and minority communities, an initiative launched as part of the Obama administration's response to unrest and national protests following the deaths of Brown and Eric Garner in Brooklyn.

"Those relationships have certainly been frayed in a number of places," Holder said.

"But I'm confident, I'm optimistic, that those relationships can be made better," he said, emphasizing the need to bring together law enforcement, faith leaders and community members.

"It's hard to demonize somebody that you know, and there has been a barrier for whatever reason that has existed."