Showing posts with label Eric Holder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eric Holder. Show all posts

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Eric Holder Defends Joe Biden against sexual assault allegations

Former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder defended Joe Biden on on Bill Maher’s show, saying an allegation of sexual assault against the former vice president is "inconsistent with the person who I've come to know."

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Eric Holder: William Barr is unfit to be the US Attorney General

In a Washington Post op-ed, former US Attorney General Eric Holder took current US attorney, William Barr, to task for not only being partisan but unfit to hold the office itself.

Read excerpts of the piece below:

As a former U.S. attorney general, I am reluctant to publicly criticize my successors. I respect the office and understand just how tough the job can be.

But recently, Attorney General William P. Barr has made a series of public statements and taken actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate for America’s chief law enforcement official that they demand a response from someone who held the same office.

...Virtually since the moment he took office, though, Barr’s words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution. Which is why I now fear that his conduct — running political interference for an increasingly lawless president — will wreak lasting damage.

The American people deserve an attorney general who serves their interests, leads the Justice Department with integrity and can be entrusted to pursue the facts and the law, even — and especially — when they are politically inconvenient and inconsistent with the personal interests of the president who appointed him. William Barr has proved he is incapable of serving as such an attorney general. He is unfit to lead the Justice Department.

Read the entire op-ed here:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eric Holder: AG Barr not fit to run USDOJ

Former United States Attorney General, Eric Holder took to twitter to give reasons why current Attorney General William Barr is not fit to run the United States Justice Department.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Eric Holder not running for President in 2020

Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that he will not run for president in 2020 in an op-ed hr wrote for the Washington Post.

Holder wrote they he will instead focus on his redistricting reform efforts through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

“Though I will not run for president in 2020, I will continue to fight for the future of our country through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates,” he writes. “For too long, Democrats have lost sight of the state and local races that shape the day-to-day lives of the people we serve.”

"I will do everything I can to ensure that the next Democratic president is not hobbled by a House of Representatives pulled to the extremes by members from gerrymandered districts," he continued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Eric Holder: ‘When They Go Low, We Kick ‘Em’

While speaking at an event for Georgia state House candidate Regina Lewis-Ward, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about his love and respect for former First Lady Michelle Obama. But after that he suggested that Democrats are playing too nice and being soft going into the upcoming mid-terms and flipped Michelle Obama's famous "When they go low, we go high" slogan around and said that "When they go low, we kick em".

Watch that video below:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Eric Holder considering 2020 Presidential Run

Former Attorney General Eric Holder will decide on whether to run for president in 2020 by early next year, he said in an interview Thursday.

Holder, who served as attorney general from 2009 to 2015 under President Obama, told the hosts of Viceland's "Desus & Mero" that he would be exploring the possibility of a run throughout the rest of the year.

"I don't know. We'll see. I haven't decided yet," Holder said when asked about his plans for a possible challenge to President Trump.

"What I've said is, I'm going to decide by the beginning of next year and see if there is going to be another chapter in my public service career."

Holder is among a slew of Democrats eyeing potential 2020 bids, including former Vice President Joe Biden and a number of sitting senators.


Friday, December 29, 2017

Eric Holder: Trump DOJ comments both wrong and dangerous

Former Attorney General Eric Holder is not happy with President Trump for saying that he has the "absolute right" to do what he wants with the Department of Justice. Holder tweeted that Trump's comments were "wrong" and "dangerous." Read his full tweet below:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Black activists tell Democrats: Put an African American on 2020 ticket

African American activists have a message for Democrats: If you want to win back the White House, strongly consider a black person on the ticket.

On their list are a growing roster of black politicians, notably Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J. and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., former Attorney General Eric Holder and Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts.

Turnout among African Americans in the 2016 presidential election was the smallest in 20 years. It’s a big concern as the NAACP holds its annual convention this week in Baltimore, its first major gathering since the election.

Hilary Shelton, head of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, said “It could be difficult” for Democrats in the future without an African American on the ticket.

But he added that the black community is “very sophisticated” politically, and having an African American is not essential if white candidates “are speaking our language, which means that they’re addressing our concerns, they’re going to get our support.”

Several in the rank and file felt differently.

Yvette Stone longs for the days when Barack Obama occupied the White House. She wants African American voters shouldn’t settle for anything less than a Democratic ticket with a black candidate in 2020.

“We have to represent what we want. We have to represent who we are,” Stone, a Huntington, N.Y. convention delegate. “Everyone always comes for our vote, and what do we get in return?”

Read more: Black activists tell Democrats: Put an African American on 2020 ticket

Friday, July 21, 2017

Eric Holder defends special counsel Robert Mueller

This week former US Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday defended special counsel Robert Mueller via Twitter after President Trump said Mueller was leading an investigation riddled with conflicts of interest.

Mueller is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eric Holder Rips Republicans For Trying To Make It More Difficult To Vote

Former Attorney General Eric Holder says it’s “shameful” Republicans are seeking to implement photo ID laws and other measures that make it more difficult to vote.

Holder, who is leading a national redistricting reform effort, accused Republicans of trying to suppress potential voters who are less likely to support them. He made the remarks during the National Action Network’s annual convention in New York City on Wednesday.

“Some Republicans have declared, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, change the rules.’ Make it more difficult for those least likely to support Republican candidates to vote,” he said. “This is done with the knowledge that by simply depressing the votes of certain groups, not even winning the majority vote of these groups, elections can in fact be effective.”

“The attempts in certain states to make even registration more difficult are shameful,” he added.

Holder went on to cite a 2014 study by the Government Accountability Office showing that voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee reduced turnout among young and African-American voters.

“If one were to try to find vote fraud or a rigged election system, that is exactly where it is,” he said.

Read more: Eric Holder Rips Republicans For Trying To Make It More Difficult To Vote

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

California Democrats hire Eric Holder to battle Trump in court

Democratic leaders of the California state legislature have hired Eric Holder, the former attorney general during the Obama administration, to serve as outside legal counsel as they prepare for a series of court battles with President-elect Donald Trump's White House.

In a statement released Wednesday, California Senate President Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon -- both Democrats -- announced they had "hired outside legal counsel to advise on potential legal challenges with the incoming Trump administration."

"With the upcoming change in administrations, we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead," the state leaders said. They vowed to protect "California's economy and our sensible policies on climate change, health care, civil rights, and immigration."

To accomplish that goal, the legislature said it retained the Covington & Burling law firm, led by Holder.

Read more: California Dems tap Eric Holder to fight Trump in court

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Eric Holder endorses Hillary Clinton

Former Attorney General, Eric Holder has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Read his statement below.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Attorney General Holder Statement on the Overnight Shooting of Two Officers in Ferguson, Missouri

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Thursday on the overnight shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri:

“This heinous assault on two brave law enforcement officers was inexcusable and repugnant. I condemn violence against any public safety officials in the strongest terms, and the Department of Justice will never accept any threats or violence directed at those who serve and protect our communities—from this cowardly action, to the killing of an officer in Philadelphia last week while he was buying a game for his son, to the tragic loss of a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the line of duty in Louisiana earlier this week. Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months. We wish these injured officers a full and speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department's full range of investigative resources. And we will continue to stand unequivocally against all acts of violence against cops whenever and wherever they occur.”

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tearful Obama bids Holder farewell

A tearful President Obama on Friday bid goodbye to outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, one of his closest friends in the administration.

"I'll just come out and say it — he has been one of our finest," Obama said at the Justice Department, where Holder’s official portrait was unveiled.

"Having good men in positions of power and authority, who are willing to fight for what's right, that's a rare thing, that's a powerful thing," Obama said of Holder, wiping away a tear. Holder is serving out his final days in Obama’s Cabinet, with the Senate expected to soon confirm Loretta Lynch to take his place as attorney general.

Read more: Tearful Obama bids Holder farewell

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eric Holder on mistrust between minorities & the police: "We have failed as a nation"

During an interview with Joy Reid for the New Yorker Magazine Eric Holder made some very profound comments when asked about the decades-long mistrust that remains between communities of color and law enforcement. Read his response below.

It means that we, as a nation, have failed. It's as simple as that. We have failed. We have understood that these issues have existed... These are issues that we've been dealing with for generations.

And it's why we have to seize this opportunity that we now have. We have a moment in time that we can, perhaps, come up with some meaningful change. It's what I'm committed to doing, even in the limited time I have left as attorney general. And I'll certainly continue to do it after I leave office.

But I also feel that the nation is really ready for this kind of change. And I would hope that, 10 years from now, 12 years from now, we will not look back on this as a lost opportunity.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Transcript: Eric Holder Remarks During the Community Forum at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks During the Interfaith Service and Community Forum at Ebenezer Baptist Church
United States
Monday, December 1, 2014
Thank you all for being here.  It is my honor to bring warm greetings from President Obama, who asked that I share his best wishes with you this evening.
I’d like to thank Reverend [Raphael] Warnock, and his colleagues and counterparts throughout Atlanta’s thriving community of faith, for inviting me to join you tonight.  I also want to thank Mayor [Kasim] Reed and Police Chief [George] Turner for welcoming me to this beautiful city.  Earlier today, I had the opportunity to meet with the two of them – along with a number of law enforcement, faith, civil rights, and community leaders from here in Atlanta – for the first in what will be a series of meetings with law enforcement, civic, and community leaders around the country in the coming weeks.  I heard about the great work they are doing to foster strong and mutually-respectful relationships throughout this region.  And I was particularly encouraged to learn about robust engagement strategies like the one that’s in place in this area – thanks to the leadership of DeKalb County Director of Public Safety Cedric Alexander and his colleagues – as people have reacted to events in Ferguson.
I want to take a moment to recognize the Justice Department leaders who took part in this meeting, and who are here with us tonight – including Karol Mason, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; senior leaders from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; Vanita Gupta, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; and Atlanta’s very own Sally Yates, our outstanding U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
Most importantly, I want to thank each of the passionate citizens – and especially the young people – who has taken the time to reflect, to pray, and to engage with us this evening.  It is a privilege to stand with this community as you convene a forum to help build cooperation, to foster inclusion, and to make your voices heard.  And it is a particular honor to do so in the shadow of the historic sanctuary where a young man of faith named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first found the voice that would stir millions to action; where he first articulated the vision that pushes us forward even today; and where he first bound himself to the enduring struggle for equal justice – a cause that he would pioneer, for which he would lay down his life, and in which every successive generation must be both trained and invested.
It was here at Ebenezer Baptist, well over half a century ago, that our nation’s greatest advocate for justice, for peace, and for righteousness began the work that would help to transform the nation – and usher in decades of extraordinary, once-unimaginable progress.  It was here that Dr. King set out not merely to change our laws, but to change the world – and to pull the country he loved ever closer to its founding principles.  And it was here, too, that he issued a prophetic warning that, although brighter days undoubtedly lay ahead, progress would not come without considerable hardship, struggle, setback – and profound sacrifice.
“The winds,” he told us, “are going to blow.  The storms of disappointment are coming.  The agonies and the anguishes of life are coming.”
Dr. King knew then – as we know, today – that with the strength conferred by abiding faith, together, we can “stand up amid the storms.”  By placing our trust in the Divine, and in one another, we can “walk with [our] feet solid to the ground and [our] head[s] to the air.”  He assured us that, come what may, we need not feel discouraged or afraid; in fact, we need not fear any challenge that comes before us.  But the struggles will continue.  The storms will come.  And the road ahead will be anything but smooth or straight.
As we look down this road tonight, it’s clear that our nation continues to face persistent challenges – along with the countless opportunities that Dr. King helped make possible, but that he himself did not live to see.  As we recommit ourselves to the cause with which he entrusted us, it’s apparent that our nation’s journey is not yet over.  And so we return once more to this hallowed place to seek shelter from a terrible storm – a storm that I’m certain we will weather, so long as we continue to stand united – and unafraid to address realities too long ignored.
Like millions of Americans, I know many of you have spent the past few days with family members, friends, and loved ones, giving thanks for the blessings of the past year – but also mindful of recent news, the anguished emotions, and the images of destruction that have once again focused this country’s attention on Ferguson, Missouri.
While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, I can report this evening that the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown, as well as our investigation into allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department, remain ongoing and active.  They have been rigorous and independent from the very beginning.  While federal civil rights law imposes an extremely high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted prejudging the evidence or forming premature conclusions.  And as these investigations proceed, I want to assure the American people that they will continue to be conducted both thoroughly and in a timely manner – following the facts and the law wherever they may lead.  We will see these investigations through to their appropriate conclusions, so that we can continue to work with the community to restore trust, to rebuild understanding, and to foster renewed cooperation between law enforcement and community members.
Like you, I understand that the need for this trust was made clear in the wake of the intense public reaction to last week’s grand jury announcement.  But the problems we must confront are not only found in Ferguson.  The issues raised in Missouri are not unique to that state or that small city.  We are dealing with concerns that are truly national in scope and that threaten the entire nation.  Broadly speaking, without mutual understanding between citizens – whose rights must be respected – and law enforcement officers – who make tremendous and often-unheralded personal sacrifices every day to preserve public safety – there can be no meaningful progress.  Our police officers cannot be seen as an occupying force disconnected from the communities they serve.  Bonds that have been broken must be restored.  Bonds that never existed must now be created.
But the issue is larger than just the police and the community.  Our overall system of justice must be strengthened and made more fair.  In this way, we can ensure faith in the justice system.  Without that deserved faith, without that reasoned belief, there can be no justice.  This is not an unreasonable desire – it is a fundamental American right enshrined in our founding documents.
There can be no question that Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy.  Any loss of life – and particularly the loss of someone so young – is heart-rending, regardless of the circumstances.  But in the months since this incident occurred, it has sparked a significant national conversation about the need to ensure confidence in the law enforcement and criminal justice processes.  The rifts that this tragedy exposed, in Ferguson and elsewhere, must be addressed – by all Americans – in a constructive manner.  And it is deeply unfortunate that this vital conversation was interrupted, and this young man’s memory dishonored, by destruction and looting on the part of a relatively small criminal element.
Dr. King would be the first to remind us that acts of mindless destruction are not only contrary to the rule of law and the aims of public safety; they threaten to stifle important debate, “adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”  They actively impede social progress by drowning out the legitimate voices of those attempting to make themselves heard.  And they are not consistent with the wishes of Michael Brown’s father, who asked that his son be remembered peacefully.
Time and again, America’s proud history has shown that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to principles of non-aggression and nonviolence.  As this congregation knows better than most, peaceful protest has long been a hallmark, and a legacy, of past struggles for progress.  This is what Dr. King taught us, half a century ago, in his eloquent words from the Ebenezer pulpit and in the vision he shared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
So this evening, I renew his call for all those who seek to lend their voices to important causes and discussions, and who seek to elevate these vital conversations, to do so in ways that respect the gravity of their subject matter.  I urge all Americans to stand in solidarity with those brave citizens, in Ferguson, who stopped looters from destroying even more local businesses, who isolated people responsible for acts of violence, and who rejected lawless and destructive tactics – just as I have urged them to stand with law enforcement personnel to ensure the rights of protestors and defuse tense situations whenever and wherever possible.
I also want to reaffirm my own steadfast dedication, and the commitment of my colleagues at every level of the U.S. Department of Justice, to keep working with citizens and law enforcement leaders alike in building this inclusive, national dialogue – so we can close these gaps, improve police and community relations, and open a new era of collaboration in pursuit of public safety, especially among the vulnerable and underserved populations that need our assistance the most.
This has been a top priority for my colleagues and me over the past six years.  In fact, in just the last few months, under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Mason and COPS Director Ron Davis, our Office of Justice Programs and COPS Office have worked to develop and disseminate guidance to law enforcement officers about how to maintain order during peaceful protests and other First Amendment-protected events – while safeguarding the rights of demonstrators.  As we speak, the COPS Office and Community Relations Service are doing great work on the ground in Ferguson – conducting an after-action review, recommending constructive steps we can take to resolve persistent tensions, and identifying areas where law enforcement priorities and community concerns must fall into alignment.
As this critical effort unfolds, we will remain firmly resolved to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in driving this work into the future.  And this commitment will also fuel our broader efforts to bring change – and meaningful reform – to urgent challenges far beyond the realm of community policing.
Through the Smart on Crime initiative I launched last year, we are already strengthening the federal criminal justice system, moving away from outdated sentencing regimes, and embracing a holistic approach to law enforcement, incarceration, rehabilitation, and reentry.  Through important, bipartisan legislation like the Smarter Sentencing Act – and in cooperation with Congressional leaders from both parties – we’re striving to give judges more discretion in determining sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes.  And we’re marshaling a broad coalition of bipartisan leaders to urge state lawmakers to repeal and rethink misguided and unjust policies like felon disenfranchisement, so voting rights can be restored to those individuals who have served their time, paid their fines, and completed their probation or parole.
Through the groundbreaking My Brother’s Keeper initiative that President Obama announced in February, we are also working tirelessly to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color – and to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.  Under the leadership of Vanita Gupta, the Department’s Civil Rights Division is deeply engaged in reinvigorated police reform work.  Over the last five fiscal years, they’ve opened more than 20 investigations into police departments across the country – and entered into 15 consent decrees or memoranda of understanding – to correct unconstitutional policing practices.  And through the new National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which I launched in September, we are forging robust relationships between police officers and their communities – so we can bridge long-simmering divides from coast to coast; so we can provide innovative training on bias reduction and procedural fairness, to ensure that everyone is treated equitably; and so we can minimize needless confrontation, preserve peace, and maintain the public trust at all times – particularly in moments of heightened community tension.
Earlier today, I was proud to join President Obama at the White House to discuss this ongoing work.  And I am pleased to note this evening that the President has announced a series of steps to take these efforts to a new level – to strengthen promising practices by local police while bolstering law enforcement and community relations.
First: based on an exhaustive, Administration-wide review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police – which the President ordered in August, and which uncovered a lack of consistency in the way this equipment is distributed – the White House has released a detailed report outlining next steps for ensuring appropriate use of federal programs.  And the President has instructed his staff to draft an Executive Order directing relevant agencies to work with law enforcement and civil rights organizations to find ways to improve the effectiveness, integrity, accountability, and transparency of these initiatives.
Second: the President made clear that this Administration will continue to strongly support the use of body cameras by local police.  And he announced a commitment of more than $200 million to support a three-year initiative that will invest in body-worn cameras, expand training for law enforcement agencies, add more resources for police department reform, and multiply the number of cities where Justice Department leaders facilitate greater engagement between residents and local authorities.
Third: in the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement, which will institute rigorous new standards – and robust safeguards – to help end racial profiling, once and for all.  This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.
Finally: the President took the historic step of creating a new Task Force on 21st Century Policing – a body composed of law enforcement executives and community leaders from around the country, led by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, and COPS Director Ron Davis, who will convene in the coming weeks to examine the present state of policing, to identify best practices, and to make recommendations for the future.  This important Task Force will ask tough questions, examine thorny challenges, and consider the state of the law enforcement profession in a broad and inclusive way.  It will offer suggestions for new ways to advance community policing throughout the country.  And it will help to provide strong, national direction on a scale not seen since President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement nearly 50 years ago.
I want to be very clear that, although frank dialogue is a necessary first step and sign of commitment, these efforts aren’t just about talking – and they’re certainly not about imposing solutions from Washington.  They’re about bringing leaders together – from every perspective – to confront specific challenges, to spur renewed engagement, and to translate healthy dialogue into concrete, coordinated action and results.
Because police officers have an indispensable role to play in securing our neighborhoods and building a brighter future.  Because these public servants shoulder enormous burdens, and incur significant personal risks, to fulfill their critical responsibilities.  Because all lives matter and all lives must be valued.  And because all Americans deserve fair and equal treatment in the eyes of the law.
After all, at a fundamental level, this is about much more than effective policy.  It’s about the progress that can only spring from thoughtful, peaceful gatherings like this one.  It’s about leaders like all of you – the men and women in this crowd tonight.  And it’s about the power that passionate, engaged citizens can and must exercise in shaping our nation’s future: so we can reclaim the promise, and the singular opportunity born of tragedy, that brings us together – here and now.  So we can keep our steadfast commitment to prevent future tragedies and promote mutual understanding.  And so we can fulfill the sacred responsibility that all Americans share – a responsibility to Dr. King, and untold millions of others, who sacrificed everything they had to bring our nation to this point; a responsibility to our fellow citizens, as well as the law enforcement officers who keep us safe; and – most of all – a responsibility to our children, black and white, from all backgrounds, races, and walks of life, in cities and towns across this country – as to generations yet to come.
It was Dr. King who reminded us – in his very last speech, on the night before his life was taken – that it’s only when it is dark enough that the stars can be seen.
Tonight, once again, it is dark enough.  Yet even in recent weeks, there have arisen great sparks of humanity, and hope, that illuminate the way forward.
Out of this darkness shine the actions of those who reject destruction in favor of peaceful protest; the bravery of others who faced down mobs; the valor of law enforcement officers who risked their lives to restore public safety to their communities; and the humble words of a father who lost a son, but raised his voice in pursuit of peace.
These are the moments that remind us of the values that bind us together as a nation.  These are the times – of great challenge and great consequence – that point the way forward in our ongoing pursuit of a more perfect Union.  And these are the lights that will help us beat back the encroaching darkness – and the stars that will guide us, together, out of this storm.
May God grant us safe passage.  May He continue to watch over our journey.  And may He always bless the United States of America.
Civil Rights (including EEOC)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Eric Holder statement : US Justice Dept. launches probe into Ferguson Police

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Pattern or Practice Investigation into Ferguson Police Department
Washington, D.C. ~ Thursday, September 4, 2014
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon.  I am joined today by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Molly Moran and Director Ron Davis, of the Community Oriented Policing Services – or COPS – Office.  We are here to announce the latest steps in the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to address the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding communities.

As you know, our federal civil rights investigation into the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown remains open and very active.  As I made clear during my visit to Ferguson two weeks ago, this investigation will take time.  But the American people can have confidence that it will be fair, it will be thorough, and it will be independent.

Over the course of that visit, I had the chance to speak with a number of local residents.  I heard from them directly about the deep mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members of the community.  In meetings and listening sessions – as well as informal conversations – people consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.

These anecdotal accounts underscored the history of mistrust of law enforcement in Ferguson that has received a good deal of attention.  As a result of this history – and following an extensive review of documented allegations and other available data – we have determined that there is cause for the Justice Department to open an investigation to determine whether Ferguson Police officials have engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law.

This investigation will be carried out by a team from the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section – some of the same dedicated professionals who have achieved historic results in ensuring constitutional policing from coast to coast.  Over the past five years, the Civil Rights Division has prosecuted over 300 individual officers for misconduct.  We have opened 20 pattern or practice investigations into police departments across the country.  That’s more than twice as many as were opened in the previous five years.  And we’re enforcing 14 agreements to reform law enforcement practices at agencies both large and small.  With these agreements, we have seen dramatic decreases in excessive uses of force; greater equity in the delivery of police services, including important measures to address bias; and, most significantly, increased confidence by communities in their law enforcement agencies.

As the brother of a retired police officer, I know that the overwhelming majority of our brave men and women in uniform do their jobs honorably, with integrity, and often at great personal risk. The Civil Rights Division’s efforts are simply meant to ensure that law enforcement officers in every part of the U.S. live up to those same high standards of professionalism.  In Ferguson, our investigation will assess the police department’s use of force, including deadly force.  It will analyze stops, searches, and arrests.  And it will examine the treatment of individuals detained at Ferguson’s city jail, in addition to other potentially discriminatory policing techniques and tactics that are brought to light.

We have met with the Mayor, City Manager and Police Chief in Ferguson.  They have welcomed the investigation and pledged complete cooperation.  This investigation will be conducted both rigorously and in a timely manner, so we can move forward as expeditiously as possible to restore trust, rebuild understanding, and foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members.  At the same time, I want to make very clear that – as this investigation unfolds and evolves – we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.  And if, at any point, we find reason to expand our inquiry to include additional police forces in neighboring jurisdictions, we will not hesitate to do so.

In fact, I can also announce today that – above and beyond our investigation in Ferguson – we are taking proactive steps to engage the St. Louis County Police Department in what’s known as a “collaborative reform effort.”  This partnership is being led by the COPS Office, working closely with St. Louis County officials to conduct a comprehensive assessment.  The St. Louis County Police Chief has voluntarily accepted the collaborative reform process and has also asked that the COPS Office conduct an After Action Report on their response to recent demonstrations.  And already, with the cooperation of St. Louis County leaders, we have identified priority areas for intensive review and technical assistance – including racial profiling; stops, searches, and frisking; the handling of mass demonstrations by police officials; and law enforcement training both at the police academy and at the continuing professional level.

Because St. Louis County administers training programs for officers throughout the area – including members of the Ferguson Police Department – it makes sense to include the county police department as part of our comprehensive approach to confronting the challenges we’ve seen in that region.

I want to be clear: this is not a stopgap or a short-term solution.  It’s a long-term strategy, founded on community policing, that will provide a detailed roadmap to build trust; to bolster public safety; to ensure accountability; and to change the way that law enforcement leaders make decisions, implement policies, and forge community partnerships.  And our track record proves that such efforts to reform policing practices can be tremendously successful.

For example, in 2012, the COPS Office and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department completed an eight-month review similar to the collaboration we are launching today with the St. Louis County Police Department.  The Las Vegas review resulted in 75 findings and concrete recommendations regarding officer-involved shootings and other use-of-force issues.  To date, fully 95 percent of these recommendations have been adopted.  And police agencies in two other jurisdictions are going through similar processes as we speak.

When I visited Ferguson two weeks ago, I promised that the U.S. Department of Justice would continue to stand with the people there long after the national headlines had faded.  Today, with our investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and our reform efforts in St. Louis County, we’re taking significant steps to keep that promise.  As these efforts unfold, my colleagues and I will keep working with the people in Ferguson to ensure that a fair, thorough investigation occurs; to see that dialogue can be translated into concrete action; and to facilitate lasting, positive change – that brings together police officials, civil rights leaders, and members of the public – to bridge gaps and build understanding.

This won’t always be easy.  But I know that, together, we can and will meet this challenge.

Before we move to questions, there have been court decisions announced today in two separate but very important cases on which I would like to briefly comment.

First, we are pleased that the district court in New Orleans has found that the largest oil spill in U.S. history was caused by BP’s gross negligence and willful misconduct.  The court’s findings will ensure that the company is held fully accountable for its recklessness.  This case, which was vigorously pursued by the United States’ stellar legal team, marks another significant step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to seek justice on behalf of the American people for this disaster.  And we are confident this decision will serve as a strong deterrent to anyone tempted to sacrifice safety and the environment in the pursuit of profit.

Second, in Ohio, a district court has held that the plaintiffs challenging the State of Ohio’s changes to its in-person early voting rules likely will be able to prove that those changes are unconstitutional.  The Justice Department had filed a Statement of Interest in this case.  And today’s outcome represents a milestone in our effort to continue to protect voting rights even after the Supreme Court’s deeply misguided decision in Shelby County.

I am pleased to note that today’s decision, and the judge’s analysis, rests on some of the same legal reasoning that underlies the Department’s pending challenges to voting measures in Texas and North Carolina under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  And as we move forward, my colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to aggressively defend access to the ballot box and ensure that every American can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by unnecessary restrictions that discourage, discriminate, or disenfranchise.

At this time, we would be happy to take your questions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Eric Holder: A message to the people of Ferguson

The following is a statement on the Michael Brown shooting from the US Attorney General Eric Holder to the people of Ferguson Missouri.
by Eric H. Holder Jr.

Since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, the nation and the world have witnessed the unrest that has gripped Ferguson, Mo. At the core of these demonstrations is a demand for answers about the circumstances of this young man’s death and a broader concern about the state of our criminal justice system.
At a time when so much may seem uncertain, the people of Ferguson can have confidence that the Justice Department intends to learn — in a fair and thorough manner — exactly what happened.
Today, I will be in Ferguson to be briefed on the federal civil rights investigation that I have closely monitored since I launched it more than one week ago. I will meet personally with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to receive detailed briefings on the status of this case.
The full resources of the Department of Justice have been committed to the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. This inquiry will take time to complete, but we have already taken significant steps. Approximately 40 FBI agents and some of the Civil Rights Division’s most experienced prosecutors have been deployed to lead this process, with the assistance of the United States Attorney in St. Louis. Hundreds of people have already been interviewed in connection with this matter. On Monday, at my direction, a team of federal medical examiners conducted an independent autopsy.
We understand the need for an independent investigation, and we hope that the independence and thoroughness of our investigation will bring some measure of calm to the tensions in Ferguson. In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority — and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson — they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance.
The Justice Department will defend the right of protesters to peacefully demonstrate and for the media to cover a story that must be told. But violence cannot be condoned. I urge the citizens of Ferguson who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters, vandals and others seeking to inflame tensions and sow discord.
Law enforcement has a role to play in reducing tensions, as well. As the brother of a retired law enforcement officer, I know firsthand that our men and women in uniform perform their duties in the face of tremendous threats and significant personal risk. They put their lives on the line every day, and they often have to make split-second decisions.
At the same time, good law enforcement requires forging bonds of trust between the police and the public. This trust is all-important, but it is also fragile. It requires that force be used in appropriate ways. Enforcement priorities and arrest patterns must not lead to disparate treatment under the law, even if such treatment is unintended. And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
Over the years, we have made significant progress in ensuring that this is the case. But progress is not an endpoint; it is a measure of effort and of commitment. Constructive dialogue should continue — but it must also be converted into concrete action. And it is painfully clear, in cities and circumstances across our great nation, that more progress, more dialogue, and more action is needed.
This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent. And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve. Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.
As we move forward together, I ask for the public’s cooperation and patience. And I urge anyone with information related to the shooting to contact the FBI by dialing 800-CALL-FBI, option 4.
Eric H. Holder Jr. is attorney general of the United States.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eric Holder dismisses Sarah Palin's ideas on impeachment of President Obama.

When asked on ABC News "This Week" Eric Holder quickly dismissed Sarah Palin and her calls for the impeachment of President Obama. Watch his statements below: