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WASHINGTON — When Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday, he assured local residents the U.S. Justice Department will swiftly investigate the police killing of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9.
In meetings with locals, Holder emphasized how his own past experiences will inform his work overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation of Michael Brown’s killing. He told students at a community college there that police searched his car when he’d been stopped for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike.
“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said. “The same kid who got stopped on the New Jersey freeway is now the attorney general of the United States.”
But Holder’s critics point out that this is the same man who was woefully soft on bad cops when he served as Washington, D.C.’s top prosecutor in the mid-1990s.
“Relying on Holder to take action is like sending a guy with a cup of water to put out a wildfire,” said Gregory Lattimer, an attorney who has represented family members of people killed by D.C. police, including DeOnte Rawlings, a 14-year-old boy shot in the back of the head by an off-duty officer in 1997.
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