Obama and Holder are correctly standing with the Black residents of Ferguson and without big-footing local officials, they are making it clear that a fair and impartial investigation is a top priority.
And it makes sense: Obama and Holder know all too well that young Black men in America are being shot and killed at an alarming rate, often by white police officers who are fast on the trigger.
“In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement,” Obama said this week at the White House.
“In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” the President said. “Through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper, I’m personally committed to changing both perception and reality.”
Black residents of Ferguson are waiting for justice in the case where unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Holder’s arrival in Ferguson coincided with St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s 12-member grand jury that was assembled Wednesday to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Wilson.
But Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, a Democrat, is calling for McCulloch to step down, and wrote a strong letter to McCulloch saying Black residents of Ferguson do not believe McCulloch can be fair.
“This racially-charged climate demands an independent investigation, and to be perfectly blunt, the African-American community has no confidence that your office can carry out an impartial investigation and prosecution,” Nasheed wrote in her letter.
And, Nasheed warned: “If you should decide not to indict this police officer, the rioting we witnessed this past week will look seem like a picnic compared to the havoc that will likely occur, because the Black community will never accept that there was an impartial investigation from your office.”
“For the good of the entire St. Louis community, I call on you to show statesmanship and step aside in this matter,” Nasheed wrote.
Time will tell if McCulloch will actually step down, but meanwhile, Obama and Holder are trying to calm tensions in Ferguson where the nation has seen 10 days of peaceful protesting mixed with riots, looting and civil unrest.
Obama and Holder are working together in an unprecedented high-level tag-team to call for fairness in the Michael Brown case, a powerful symbol of support for the Brown family — and for all young Black men who could become targets by police just for walking while Black.