As the investigation continued into the overnight shooting of two police officers at a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that whoever was responsible is “a damn punk.”
Police have not named any suspects in the attack, which left both officers with serious injuries. The officers were stationed outside the Ferguson police department as protesters gathered after the resignation of the city’s police chief.
The shooter “was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson,” Holder said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “This was a damn punk. A punk who was trying to sow discord in an area that is trying to get its act together, and trying to bring together a community that has been fractured for too long.”
The police chief’s resignation was the latest in a string of departures of city employees after a scathing Justice Department report that revealed endemic racism in the local police and court systems. The shooting early Thursday seemed to shatter a sense of a peaceful transition in the wake of the report.
“Seeing this attack last night really kind of turned my stomach,” Holder said. “I thought we’d begun to see really important signs of progress.”
At the press conference, Holder announced that six cities had been selected to participate in a federal pilot program to improve the relationships between local law enforcement departments and the communities they serve. The cities are Birmingham, Alabama; Stockton, California; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Fort Worth, Texas.
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