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Attorney General Eric Holder Praises Peaceful Protest as Ferguson Waits

A grand jury is expected to decide soon whether to charge the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday praised the effectiveness of peaceful protest — a message that appeared intended for Ferguson, Missouri, as it waits for a grand jury to decide whether to charge the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

In a video message, Holder did not mention Ferguson, but he said that protests over the past few months have called attention to “police practices, implicit bias and pervasive community distrust.”

“I ask all those who seek to lend their voice to important causes and discussions, and who seek to elevate these vital conversations, to do so in a way that respects the gravity of their subject matter,” he said.

“Peaceful protest has been a hallmark, and a legacy, of past movements for change, from patriotic women who demanded access to the franchise, to the civil rights pioneers who marched for equal rights and equal justice.”

A grand jury is expected to return a decision any day on whether Officer Darren Wilson should be charged for shooting and killing Brown, an unarmed teenager, on a Ferguson street in August. Anticipating protests, Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and has the National Guard at the ready.


— Pete Williams