U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is working to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. But that investigation is being interrupted extensively by serious leaks in the case.
Despite the challenges, Holder says that he is optimistic that the investigation will be concluded by the time he is out of office this year. Speaking at a news conference this week, Holder says that the Obama Administration is going to announce his replacement by the end of the year, and he doesn’t plan on leaving until that time.
Holder feels that those who are responsible for leaking information about the Michael Brown shooting are seeking to shape public opinion in an unfair way. The case has been further complicated by recent autopsy reports claiming that Brown may have tried to take Officer Wilson’s gun and that he was charging at the officer at the time he was fatally wounded.
But critics charge that the events in the case are not as relevant as the inappropriate nature by which the police conducted the investigation. After the shooting occurred, police failed to interview witnessses, left Brown’s body in the street for hours, and then refused to release information about the incident after it took place. This is considered to be part of the reason that protests ensued from the public.
Brown’s death sparked angry protests across the St. Louis suburb and has drawn global attention to race relations in the United States.
Holder’s legacy as attorney general, a position he has held since the start of the Obama administration, has been largely shaped by his vocal advocacy for racial justice.
Holder also said he was “exasperated” to see leaks earlier this week from the grand jury reviewing the case locally. The leaked information indicated that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, was acting in self-defense.
“It appears that people are somehow trying to shape public opinion,” Holder said.
In addition to the criminal investigation into Wilson’s actions, the Justice Department is also conducting a civil investigation into the patterns and practices of the Ferguson Police Department.