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Protesters Hopeful Eric Holder Brings Peace to Ferguson

"With Holder, you now have an eagle eye on the whole situation," one protester said after the attorney general promised a thorough investigation.

FERGUSON, Missouri — Attorney General Eric Holder's visit could significantly calm tensions in this community where police shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, protesters said Wednesday.

A woman was taken into custody Wednesday evening when a small group didn't immediately obey police orders to keep moving, but with a storm beginning to drop rain on the town, protests remained peaceful Wednesday night — something Holder said was one of his main goals. "Hopefully, what we're doing will have a positive impact," he told reporters after meeting with FBI agents investigating the shooting of Brown for a possible federal civil rights case.

Holder met with members of Brown's family after Brown's mother viewed his body for the first time at a local morgue, the Justice Department said Wednesday night, and promised them a "fair and independent" investigation.

"It's going to make a big difference. With Holder, you now have an eagle eye on the whole situation," Kevin Broyles, 52, a writer from St. Louis, told NBC News on Wednesday night, while Lamar Davis, 55, a truck driver from University City, Missouri, said. "Hopefully, he can put some pressures on the locals here." But Carmen Huey, 33, a waitress from St. Louis, doubted that Holder would have much impact: "I don't think that cop is going to get charged. Black people have been going through this our whole life."

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— Rick Brown, M. Alex Johnson and Dave Forman