(WASHINGTON) — With a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting death not expected until Monday at the earliest, both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have issued pleas for a calm and measured response to the verdict.
The grand jury, which convenes again Monday, will determine what charges, if any, to bring against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Last August 9, Wilson shot Brown, who was unarmed, six times following an altercation.
The racially-charged incident touched off confrontations between the African-American community and law enforcement officers and many fear the civil unrest will be even more violent if Wilson is exonerated.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama urged residents to “keep protests peaceful,” saying, “You know, this is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble to protest actions that they think are unjust, but using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video released by the Justice Department, “History has…shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence,” a sentiment similarly expressed by Michael Brown Sr., who released his own video appealing for calm.
Holder also stated that “long-simmering tensions will not be cooled overnight,” and he touted the “importance” of police forces engaging with communities long before times of crisis.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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