NEW DETAILS:

Baby found dead in vehicle in Procter & Gamble lot

What can Eric Holder do for Ferguson?


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday with clear objectives: investigate the officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown, ensure that there were no federal civil rights laws violated and help ease tensions the city.

Holder met with residents, community leaders and the Brown family hoping to, in his words, exert "a calming influence" through dialogue and face-to-face meetings. (Video via KSHB)

But it's not every day the nation's top law enforcement official and legal adviser to the president comes to visit. And given the circumstances, many people seem to have a few ideas of their own about what Holder needs to be doing with his time.

"What they need to hear from this black man in this position ... is that they need to stay out of trouble with the law. They need to pull up their pants, finish school and take care of their kids." 

>> Special section: Social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

That was Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley specifically addressing how Holder should deal with "looters and rioters" in Ferguson amid consecutive nights of chaos. 

A Salon writer suggests this is Holder's moment to address racial inequity on a larger scale: "It’s time to utter the three words that have inflicted more racial injustice against black men than any other three words in the English lexicon: prison industrial complex." 

There's lots of talk about Holder trying to calm racial tensions. A Cornell University law professor told NBC,"He'll be able to mediate between the law enforcement community, which obviously sees Holder as being the highest law enforcement official in the country, and the African-American community, which knows that Holder is one of the highest ranking African-American officials in the whole country. ... That's not an explicitly legal function. It's more of a socio-political function."

But what sort of tangible action can Holder take to really influence things in Ferguson? 

Politico writer says some of what Holder can do is already being done: he's ordered an investigation, he's ordered (another) autopsy and he can take action against the Ferguson PD if he finds that they've been "violating people’s rights." But the writer adds, beyond that, Holder's authority is limited. 

>> Read more trending stories

If Holder were to take over the investigation to prosecute officer Darren Wilson, a Christian Science Monitor writer says that would be a mistake. "Legal analysts stress that a state prosecutor has significantly more flexibility to tailor a charge to a particular crime. ... In contrast, federal law would require Holder’s prosecutors to prove significantly more. ... Prosecutors would have to prove that Wilson deliberately acted with evil intent to deprive the teenager of his rights."

And Holder does have more political leeway to talk about race than, say, President Obama. The president has been criticized in the past for speaking about race, such as when he made remarks following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  

But a Bloomberg correspondent says Holden can't seem biased, either. 

Peter Cook: "He has to walk a very fine line because he can't appear to take sides in this, just like the president. He has to appear that he hasn't conducted a rush to judgment."

Meanwhile, a grand jury examined evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown Wednesday, but St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch told reporters it could be as long as two months before we know if charges will be brought against Wilson. 

This video contains images from Getty Images.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Fall-like weather arrives in Miami Valley as Touchdown 7 football begins
Fall-like weather arrives in Miami Valley as Touchdown 7 football begins

Although August is yet to end, fall-like weather has made an arrival in the Miami Valley this week, just in time for Touchdown 7 football to begin.  The forecast will be cooler than normal, but still pleasant for both Thursday and Friday night games, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.  Sports Director Mike Hartsock...
One of R. Kelly’s alleged ‘cult’ victims violated her nondisclosure agreement to speak out
One of R. Kelly’s alleged ‘cult’ victims violated her nondisclosure agreement to speak out

In July, R. Kelly was accused of keeping women against their will and forcing them to follow every one of his rules or face physical punishment. On Tuesday, one of his alleged victims spoke out to BuzzFeed News. Few of the women who were in the “cult” have come forward because they reportedly signed nondisclosure agreements in exchange...
Miami County man charged with animal cruelty against dog

A Miami County man is being charged with multiple counts related to animal cruelty after posting about it on Facebook. The man is identified as Joshua C. Oswald, 29, of Newton Township. Oswald had posted photos of a deceased dog on Facebook, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.  Comments on the Facebook post suggested that...
Piglets that were saved from fire served for dinner at fire station
Piglets that were saved from fire served for dinner at fire station

Pigs that were rescued from certain death in a February barn fire ended up returning as sausages six months later to the firefighters who rescued them. A farm manager in Wiltshire, England, thought that giving the Pewsey fire department the free food was a way of saying thanks. "I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until...
FedEx truck delivers marijuana to home during drug bust, police say
FedEx truck delivers marijuana to home during drug bust, police say

Police in Oklahoma made an arrest in a big drug trafficking bust Tuesday. Dustin Drank, 35, was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Police said they found 76 pounds of marijuana and $19,000 in “drug proceeds” at two residences in the area.   As the bust was happening, a FedEx truck delivered boxes to a house  that were also...
More Stories