The Department of Justice’s investigative findings into the shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown will be released before he steps down as U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder said in one of his final speeches in the position.
It’s not clear how much can be inferred from Holder, the nation’s first Black attorney general, saying he’s “confident” a decision would come soon. It could mean the findings would show wrongdoing by officer Darren Wilson, the shooter, and/or the Ferguson police department violated community members’ rights—something that would please those involved in the nationwide #BlackLivesMatter campaign.
Or it could be that the progress reports Holder has seen indicate the end is near, with no notion of its conclusions.
“My hope is, as I said, is that we will do this before I leave office, and I’m confident that we will do that,” said Holder, while speaking to the National Press Club in Washington DC.
“The reviews are under way. I was briefed on both of them, just last week, and I’m satisfied with the progress we have made and also comfortable in saying that I am going to be able to make those calls before I leave office,” said Holder.
In the wake of the Brown shooting and the Eric Garner chokehold death in New York, President Obama created a task force to examine policing and how to better police and community relationships, with results due next month.
“We have this sense based on these incidents – that get a huge amount of attention, stir the nation – we have a sense that things are amiss, but we don’t have a real good sense of what the nature of the problem is,” Holder said.
He visited Ferguson in August and told a gathering of community college students: “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”
Holder remains in office until the Senate confirms his replacement, Obama-nominee, Loretta Lynch. That could not come until March even as the Justice Department urges Congress to speed up the process.
“You would think in some ways Loretta’s process would be sped up given their desire to see me out office,” Holder said jokingly. “Be that as it may, logic has never necessarily been a guide up there.”