Washington – U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison supports a Congressional Black Caucus letter urging the Justice Department to conduct a complete, stand-alone investigation of the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.
Ellison, D-Minn., went on Twitter to call for a “full, transparent investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown,” adding that his “thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
A letter to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder signed by Ellison and the caucus states: “Press reports suggest that Mr. Brown’s shooting may be symptomatic of larger racial tensions in Ferguson. We ask the department to dedicate sufficient resources to investigate the legal and civil rights ramifications of the shooting and surrounding circumstances.”
Police have said that Brown, 18, attempted to take an officers gun, but at least one witness said the teen was shot without cause.
In their letter, Ellison and caucus members noted that “First, the St. Louis County Police Department may not be the most objective or credible body to investigate civil rights matters involving law enforcement, given evidence of racial profiling in the past year. Second, only the federal government has the resources, the experience, and the independence to give this case the close scrutiny that the citizens of Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area deserve.”
Holder said Thursday that members of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service team, who work to mediate race disputes, are on their way to Missouri.