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Holder: Racial Divide With Police 'Not Restricted to Ferguson


"I was disappointed that some members of the community resorted to violence..."

Attorney General Eric Holder said two separate federal Ferguson-related investigations, one into the shooting death of Michael Brown and a separate into the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, would move forward.

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the sixth annual "Washington Ideas Forum" in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta FILE - Attorney General Eric Holder (AP)

This comes a day after a grand jury opted against indicting the white policy officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed the unarmed Brown, an African American. The grand jury's decision prompted riots, looting and burning of businesses.

"I was disappointed that some members of the community resorted to violence, rather than respecting what I thought were the really heartfelt words of Michael Brown Sr. and the wishes he expressed that he wanted his son's memory to be honored with non-violence," Holder said. "It is clear that those acts of violence threaten to drown out those that have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators. Those acts cannot and will not be condoned."

Holder spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday. The attorney general me with President Barack Obama on Tuesday morning.

Holder said these problems of a racial divide stem from real problems that are not isolated to Ferguson.

"Michael Brown's tragic death I think has revealed a deep distrust between some in the Ferguson community and its police force," Holder said. "It also developed a need to widely disseminate law enforcement best practices for responding to demonstrations. The Justice Department has begun this work and will continue to work with communities around the country in this regard."

Holder said the DOJ launched the "Building Communities of Trust" program to bridge the racial divides in five pilot cities to apply strategies to avoid racial bias problems.

"The reality is that what we see in Ferguson is not restricted to Ferguson. There are other communities around this country that have these same issues that have to be dealt with and we at the Justice Department are determined to do all we can do bridge those divides," Holder said. "These gaps continue in other parts of the country beyond Ferguson. Our focus will be national in its scope."

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