The U.S. Department of Justice has mounted an unusually swift and aggressive response to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Observers say the goal is to ensure that the truth about the killing is revealed, to ease racial tensions, and to reassure people that the investigation will be fair.
Brown was shot dead in the street in the St. Louis suburb on August 9. Governor Jay Nixon asked for a federal investigation two days later. After riots erupted, federal officials began coaching local authorities on different tactics.
Forty FBI agents are canvassing the neighborhood where the shooting took place, interviewing witnesses and gathering information. There will be an independent federal autopsy. And President Barack Obama is sending Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with investigators and community leaders in Ferguson.
Alberto Gonzales, a former attorney general under President George W. Bush, says federal officials usually wait for the local investigation to be completed.
Gonzales says the goal of the Department of Justice in Ferguson is to ascertain the truth and to soothe raw emotions.