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Pool photo by Olivier Douliery
Attorney General Eric Holder

WASHINGTON — Before a decision by a St. Louis County grand jury weighing the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer, Attorney General Eric Holder urged law enforcement authorities Friday to minimize the potential for confrontations during possible demonstrations.

“It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms,” Holder said in a video message posted on the Justice Department website. “This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times— particularly in moments of heightened community tension.”

The attorney general, who is overseeing a parallel civil rights inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, issued written guidance to police across the country, identifying “best practices that will help law enforcement officers maintain public safety while safeguarding constitutional rights.”

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
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