Grammy-winning rapper Nelly told Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday that law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, had lost the trust of the community and needed to change, the star's publicist told NBC News. The artist spoke on the phone to Holder, who visited the St Louis suburb in a bid to end violence over the fatal shooting by police of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Nelly, a Ferguson native who created a scholarship fund in honor of Brown’s family, said in a statement that he was “thankful” that Holder had taken the time to speak. “[Holder] understood that the trust and communication in our city is broken, we need to stop the loss of lives of our young people and we discussed the importance of building bridges between city leaders and the community members,” the statement said. “We both agreed that we have to support the Brown family in their loss and that we need to stop the violence in our city right now and learn from this tragedy, that this is a new starting point to fix what is broken and build a new community system to ensure a safer future for our young people.” Nelly’s publicist, Juliette Harris, emphasized that the artist was not simply seeking calm and order in Ferguson but urging changes in order to rebuild trust in the local community.
A spokesman for Holder confirmed the conversation, adding that the Attorney General had "also expressed his appreciation and gratitude for Nelly's use of his celebrity, relationships and resources to support the people of Ferguson as they reestablish peace and rebuild their community."
- Alastair Jamieson and Matt Zimmerman
First published August 21 2014, 2:43 AM