Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement late last night about the Grand Jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on charges for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Holder reminded the public that despite the Grand Jury decision, a separate Department of Justice investigation is ongoing.
“While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions," Holder released in a statement. “Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy. This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust. The Department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall. In addition, the Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department.
“Though there will be disagreement with the grand jury's decision not to indict, this feeling should not lead to violence. Those who decide to participate in demonstrations should remember the wishes of Michael Brown's parents, who have asked that remembrances of their son be conducted peacefully. It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting. In the coming days, it will likewise be important for local law enforcement authorities to respect the rights of demonstrators, and deescalate tensions by avoiding excessive displays—and uses—of force,” he continued.
According to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch "members of the [Grand] jury met for 25 days and heard over 70 hours of testimony from over 60 witnesses before reaching their decision. He confirmed Wilson had fired 12 shots at Brown."
More than 40 FBI agents have been sent to Ferguson by the Department of Justice to investigate the case.
Last week former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko sent a scathing letter to President Obama classifying Holder as "chief among the antagonists" in Ferguson.