U.S. Attorney General Holder Denounces Police Shootings In Missouri : The Two-Way Eric Holder called the attacks on Ferguson officers disgusting and cowardly. He is putting in motion a pilot program in six cities to try to improve police-citizen interactions.
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U.S. Attorney General Holder Denounces Police Shootings In Missouri

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U.S. Attorney General Holder Denounces Police Shootings In Missouri

U.S. Attorney General Holder Denounces Police Shootings In Missouri

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And among those condemning the shooting of the two police officers was Attorney General Eric Holder. He says he hopes the ambush won't threaten efforts to heal the breach between law enforcement and minorities in the area. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: The attorney general said the attack on law enforcement officers turned his stomach.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson. This was - this was a damn punk - 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.

JOHNSON: Eric Holder said Ferguson and many other communities are struggling to believe in law enforcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HOLDER: Incidents like the one we have witnessed throw into sharp relief why, you know, conversations to build trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve are really so important.

JOHNSON: He announced a pilot project to do just that, bringing experts on policing to six cities. They're Birmingham, Ala., Fort Worth, Texas, Minneapolis, Minn., Pittsburgh, Pa., Stockton, Calif. and Gary, Ind. The federally-funded program is designed to pave the way toward racial reconciliation by acknowledging a long history of bias. Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute is working on the project.

NANCY LA VIGNE: In those communities, you have a very intensive police presence. And to many who live there, it feels like more oppression rather than support.

JOHNSON: La Vigne says law enforcement can make a big difference by focusing not just on the law but on how they treat people. That's a concept called procedural justice.

LA VIGNE: There's this saying in the policing community about how something can be lawful but awful.

JOHNSON: Even if people end up being arrested after a traffic stop, she says, they'll have a better opinion of law enforcement as long as officers explain what they're doing and treat them with respect. Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.

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