President on violence in Ferguson: ‘Let’s seek to heal’

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Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson, Missouri, this week, President Barack Obama said Monday. The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The President called for calm in Ferguson, in response to a week of sometimes violent demonstrations there in the wake of the shooting of the black teenager by a white police officer.

“Let’s see some understanding” rather than confrontation, and “let’s seek to heal,” Obama said.

An independent autopsy into the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, provides “ample” evidence to support the arrest of the police officer who shot him, family attorney Daryl Parks said Monday at a news conference.

Parks was particularly concerned about gunshots that medical examiners hired by the family indicate came from behind and above.

“Why would he be shot in the very top of his head, a 6-foot-4 man?” Parks asked. “Makes no sense.”

The autopsy could support witnesses’ suggestions that Brown was holding his hands up in the air, said Shawn Purcell, who assisted in the autopsy. But other scenarios are possible, said Dr. Michael Baden, who supervised the inquiry.

But nothing in the autopsy suggested that Brown had engaged in a struggle, Baden said. Police have said that Brown reached into Officer Darren Wilson’s car in a tussle over his gun.

The experts said they will need to examine the original autopsy conducted by officials before they can make final conclusions.

Gov. Jay Nixon called in the state National Guard to help maintain peace in Ferguson.

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The president also spoke out about Iraq at Monday’s press conference. Obama said that Iraqi and Kurdish forces have taken a major step by recapturing the Mosul dam from Islamic State fighters.

He said that development is an important indication that they can “take the fight” to the militant group.

President Obama said he believes “you’ll see a lot of folks” in the region “step up” to help the Iraqi government if the transition in Baghdad to new leadership moves “rapidly and credibly.”

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