At a press conference Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama announced told the nation that Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson later in the week.
The president said Holder’s visit would include meeting with investigators and other leaders of the community. In addition to meeting with Holder, Obama said he also spoke to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as well as Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill.
The President called for an end to the unrest in the area as they have continued to react in the streets of Ferguson.
"It's clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What's also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not," he said from the White House. "While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving in to that anger by looting or carrying guns and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos."
Last week, Holder instructed the Justice Department's civil rights division to launch an investigation into Brown's death. Obama met with Holder earlier in the day to debrief about the ongoing situation in Ferguson, where protests again took a violent turn over the weekend.
“While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only deserves to raise tensions and stir chaos, it undermines, rather than advancing justice,” Obama said a press conference Monday afternoon.
He also reminded the protesters of their rights as they demonstrate – including freedom of speech and assembly as well as speaking to the press being granted proper access to report on the situation in Ferguson.
“There’s no excuse for excessive force by police,” Obama said.
Of the situation, Obama said Ferguson is “rightly hurting,” but called once again for people to “seek some understanding rather than to simply holler at each other.”
“Let’s seek to heal, rather than to wound each other,” the president said.
“I’ve said this before, in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. In too many communities, too many men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” Obama said, before pointing to his own initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, which he said is already making significant progress.
Holder met with Obama at the White House on Monday to discuss the situation in Ferguson after perhaps the most violent night of demonstrations since the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Early Monday morning, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he was deploying the state National Guard to Ferguson to address the “intensifying violent attacks” there. The Democratic governor’s announcement came after increased tensions in the Missouri city following the release of the identity of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, and the institution of a state of emergency and curfew over the weekend.
In a statement later Monday, the governor announced there would not be a curfew on Monday night and that the Guard would have a “limited mission.”
“The Guard’s immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack,” Nixon said in a statement. “The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission.”
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, who has visited Ferguson at the invitation of Brown’s family, said the decision to deploy National Guard troops to Ferguson could have “explosive” consequences.
“This could be explosive. The National Guard raises concern,” he said on MSNBC, later suggesting he might return to Ferguson as a result.
“I’m no drive-by activist,” Sharpton told guests of a rally in Brown’s honor Sunday afternoon at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson.