Kevin Johnson, USA Today, November 21, 2014
Before a decision by a St. Louis County grand jury weighing the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer, Attorney General Eric Holder urged law enforcement authorities Friday to minimize the potential for confrontations during possible demonstrations.
“It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms,” Holder said in a video message posted on the Justice Department website. “This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times–particularly in moments of heightened community tension.”
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen demonstrations and protests that have sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices, implicit bias and pervasive community distrust,” Holder said. “And in most cases, these demonstrations have been both meaningful and responsible and have brought vital issues to the attention of the public at large. Similarly, the vast majority of law enforcement officers have honorably defended their fellow citizens engaged in these peaceful protests.”
The attorney general also addressed those who may demonstrate after the decision, calling on them to “adhere to non-aggression and non-violence.”