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tv   Attorney General Holder on Eric Garner Case  CSPAN  December 7, 2014 2:04pm-2:11pm EST

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specific recommendations about how we strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color and minority communities that feel that bias is taking place, that we are going to take specific steps to improve the training and the work with state and local governments when it comes to policing in communities of color, that we are going to be scrupulous in investigating cases where we are concerned about the impartiality and accountability that's taking place. and as i said when i met with folks both from ferguson and law enforcement and clergy and civil rights activists, i said this is an issue that we've been dealing with for too long and it's time
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for us to make more progress than we've made. and i'm not interested in talk; i'm interested in action. and i am absolutely committed as president of the united states to making sure that we have a country in which everybody believes in the core principle that we are equal under the law. [applause] so i just got off the phone with my attorney general, eric holder. he will have more specific comments about the case in new york. but i want everybody to know here, as well as everybody who may be viewing my remarks here today, we are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust and a strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement. and i say that as somebody who
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believes that law enforcement has an incredibly difficult job; that every man or woman in uniform are putting their lives at risk to protect us; that they have the right to come home, just like we do from our jobs; that there's real crime out there that they've got to tackle day in and day out -- but that they're only going to be able to do their job effectively if everybody has confidence in the system. and right now, unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances where people just do not have confidence that folks are being treated fairly. and in some cases, those may be misperceptions, but in some cases, that's a reality. and it is incumbent upon all of us, as americans, regardless of race, region, faith, that we recognize this is an american
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problem, and not just a black problem or a brown problem or a native american problem. this is an american problem. when anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that's a problem. and it's my job as president to help solve it. [applause] >> on the same day, we also heard from attorney general eric holder about the grand jury decision. he was at the justice department. >> good evening. i want to provide an update regarding the case involving eric garner. resident wholand
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died tragically in july of this year. since mr. garner's death, the united states attorney's office for the eastern district of new york, the civil rights division, and the federal bureau of investigation have been monitoring the local case closely while allowing the local investigation led by the district attorney's office in staten island to proceed first. earlier today the grand jury declined to return an indictment in this case. now that the local investigation has concluded, i'm here to announce that the justice department will proceed with a federal civil rights investigation into mr.garner's death. this afternoon, i spoke to the widow of eric garner to inform her and her family of our decision to investigate potential federal civil rights violations. i've also been in touch with president obama and mayor deblasio regarding our decision. now prosecutors will conduct an independent, thorough, fair, and expeditious investigation. in addition to performing our
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own investigative work, the department will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation. now, we've all seen the video of mr. garner's arrest. his death, of course, was a tragedy. all lives must be valued. all lives. mr. garner's death is one of several recent incidents across our great country that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and to protect. this is not a new york issue nor a ferguson issue alone. those who have protested peacefully across our great country following the grand jury's decision in ferguson have made that very clear. as the brother of a retired police officer, i know in a very personal way about the bravery of the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk every day to protect public safety. the vast majority of our law enforcement officers perform
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their duties honorably and committed to respecting their civil rights as they carry out their very challenging work. it is for their sake as well that we must seek to heal the breakdown in trust that we have seen. earlier this week i traveled to , atlanta to begin a series of interactions to begin this process. and officials around the country at every level of the united states department of justice will continue this vital on going work. as the justice department's independent investigations into the deaths of michael brown and eric garner proceed, i will continue these conversations as we seek to restore trust, to rebuild understanding, and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve. i know that substantial numbers of people in new york and across the country will be disappointed and will be frustrated by the outcome of the state grand jury proceedings


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