By Scott Malone and Carey Gillam FERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder met with community members in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday and vowed a thorough civil rights probe into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager that has set off 12 nights of racially charged protests. Holder, the first African-American to head the Justice Department, spoke in person with students and then community leaders at a community college during a visit to Ferguson for a briefing on a Justice Department investigation into the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He later met privately with Brown's parents at the St. Louis U.S. Also on Wednesday, a grand jury investigating the fatal shooting began hearing evidence in the case, though protesters stepped up their demands that the local criminal inquiry be turned over to a special prosecutor.
The top US law enforcement official met with the parents of Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a white police officer whose death triggered nearly two weeks of riots in a US town. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday promised the family in a private 20-minute meeting that there would be a "fair and independent" inquiry into the August 9 death of their 18 year-old son in Ferguson, Missouri. Before the meeting, Brown's mother viewed her son's body at a local morgue for the first time since he died after being shot six times. A grand jury was to begin hearing witnesses to Brown's killing, with widespread calls for the police officer to be put on trial for the fatal shooting.