Both President Obama and his attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice leader Eric Holder, received catcalls during their forums on the Ferguson fiasco and fallout as well as their attempts to create viable, concrete solutions to the incessant tensions and one-sided violence between police and black citizens.
Holder was just beginning his speech at historic Ebenezer Baptish Church in Atlanta when a group of chanting protesters interrupted a speech.
The protestors march down the isle chanting “no justice, no peace” and other slogans, to which Holder quipped, “I ain’t mad at them.”
After the demonstrators marched out of the church, Holder, to many people’s surprise, vouched for the protesters.
“There will be a tendency on the part of some to condemn what we just saw. But we should not,” he implored the packed church. “What you saw there was a genuine expression of concern and involvement,” he finished to a rousing standing ovation from the audience.
Holder was dispatched to speak in Atlanta, while Obama was holed up in the White House with police officials and members of the legal community to discuss ways to improve relations between the nation’s local police forces and minority communities. There have been a rash of police shooting deaths (along with the chokehold death of Eric Garner in the Staten Island borough of New York City) and they all involve unarmed black men. Obama’s catcalls came from outside the White House from members of the Fraternal Order of Police who believe that Obama and Holder are demonizing them with a broadbrush.
Holder, on the other hand, believes the time is ripe to enact longterm solutions.
“This presents this nation with, I think, a unique opportunity,” Holder said. “And I think it’s incumbent on all of us to seize this opportunity to deal with issues that for too long have been ignored.”
Holder’s Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have opened two civil rights investigations in Missouri — one into whether Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights, the other into the police department’s overall track record with minorities.
“These twin investigations have been rigorous and they have been independent from the beginning. Now, while federal civil rights law imposes an extremely high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted prejudging the evidence or forming premature conclusions,” Holder said. “And as these investigations proceed, I want to assure the American people that they will continue to be conducted thoroughly and in a timely manner, following the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”