Eric Holder Recounts Being Harassed by Police

By Julianne Hing Aug 21, 2014

The top federal official in charge of investigating the death of Michael Brown and upholding this nation’s civil rights knows what it’s like to be harassed by the cops. And he told young people and community gathered at St. Louis Community College so on Tuesday.

"I understand that mistrust. I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man," Eric Holder said, Politico reported. The head of the nation’s Department of Justice spoke about being stopped, not just as a young person, but also as an adult working as a federal prosecutor. 

Politico’s Lucy McCalmont reported:

Holder recounted to the group of 50 how he was stopped in New Jersey twice, accused of speeding as officers searched his car.

"I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me," he said.

Holder also recalled how he and his cousin were stopped in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., while heading to a movie, and his cousin started "mouthing off."

"I’m like, ‘This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.’ I’m angry and upset. We negotiate the whole thing and we walk to our movie," the attorney general said. "At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid. I was a federal prosecutor. I worked at the United States Department of Justice. So I’ve confronted this myself."

His honesty, and willingness to explicitly tackle racial injustice in his role as the attorney general are a refreshing counterpoint to his boss’s stance.

For more on what Holder is up against, read Kai Wright’s breakdown of what Holder is facing in Ferguson.