Holder distances federal probe from local investigation in Ferguson

Holder distances federal investigation into shooting death of Michael Brown from that by local authorities

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., in a statement released late Monday, appeared to try to distance the ongoing federal investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., shooting death of Michael Brown from that of local authorities.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Atty. Robert McCullough, in announcing earlier Monday that no charges were being brought against Police Officer Darren Wilson, repeatedly said that there had been close cooperation between county and federal investigators.

“While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing,” Holder said.

“Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now," the statement said. "Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.

“While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust. The department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall. In addition, the department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department.”

President Obama, in nationally televised remarks Monday night, said Holder and others would take part in community discussions meant to deepen understanding and narrow what he called "deep distrust" between police and minority residents.

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