The announcement was made in a video released Friday morning. Holder didn’t mention Ferguson by name in the video, but a grand jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is expected to come within the next few days.
The grand jury is examining whether the Aug. 9 shooting was justified. Potential charges against Wilson could range from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, though many protesters in the St. Louis suburb are anticipating that Wilson will not be indicted.
“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 in the video. “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, I want to emphasize this, the vast majority of law enforcement officers have honorably defended their fellow citizens engaged in these peaceful protests.”
Holder said that peaceful protests “have the potential to spark a sustained and positive national dialogue,” but cautioned that “as we’ve seen, durable relationships between the police and their communities do not develop overnight.”
He also addressed First Amendment demonstrators in his message, saying that “the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to nonaggression and nonviolence.” He encouraged demonstrators to act “in a way that respects the gravity of their subject matter.”
[This post has been updated.]