Speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — the church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he will soon unveil long-planned Justice Department guidance aimed at ending racial profiling. Holder traveled to Atlanta to meet with law enforcement and community leaders for the first in a series of regional meetings around the country. The president asked Holder to set up the meetings in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri.
"In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. This will institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all," Holder said. "This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing."
Tensions between police and the community in Ferguson boiled over into violent confrontations in August after a White police officer shot a Black teenager. Protests turned violent again last week after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Holder's meeting in Atlanta included a closed roundtable discussion with law enforcement and community leaders followed by a public interfaith service and community forum.
The meeting came on the heels of President Barack Obama's request to federal agencies Monday for recommendations to ensure the U.S. isn't building a "militarized culture" within police departments. The White House also announced it wants more police to wear cameras that capture their interactions with civilians. The cameras are part of a $263 million spending package to help police departments improve their community relations.