The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., at the hands of police officers represented watershed moments in Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s legacy on civil rights.

The U.S. Department of Justice launched federal probes into both incidents. Holder met with community members in Ferguson during the unrest following Brown’s death. He spoke about the incident and the racial tensions it cast into the spotlight in personal terms.

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