Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday condemned the shootings of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, as “heinous and cowardly” and the work of “a damn punk.”
“My brother is a retired law enforcement officer, and he always tells me that cops have a right to come home at night. That’s exactly right,” Holder told reporters. “These are people who protect us, keep us safe, and they have the right to come home at night.”
He called the shootings “a pure ambush,” echoing a description earlier in the day by the chief of the St. Louis County police.
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In a report issued last week, the Justice Department found a pattern of racial bias in law enforcement in Ferguson. Holder commissioned that report after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by a white police officer last year.
The attorney general said that the shootings overnight in Ferguson “really kind of turned my stomach.”
“This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson,” he said. “This was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord in an area that is trying to get its act together, and is trying to bring together a community that has been fractured for too long.”
He added: “This really disgusting and cowardly attack might have been intended to unravel any sense of progress that exists, but I hope that does not, in fact, happen.”
— Erin McClam