U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder channeled his inner Tupac when protesters interrupted him during a speech Monday in Atlanta, Ga., at Ebenezer Baptist Church, telling them, “I’m not mad at cha,” CNN reports. He was in town to announce the federal government’s plans to tackle racial profiling.
“There will be a tendency on the part of some to condemn what we just saw, but we should not,” Holder said. “What we saw there was a genuine expression of concern and involvement. And it is through that level of involvement, that level of concern and I hope a level of perseverance and commitment, that change ultimately will come. And so let me be clear, let me be clear, I ain’t mad atcha, all right?”
Demonstrators were escorted out of the church after about 30 seconds and continued to protest outside. They pumped their fists in the air, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Holder’s response drew a standing ovation from the crowd. “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,’’ is the title of a single from slain rapper Tupac Shakur’s popular CD, “All Eyez on Me,” which was released shortly after his death in 1996. Holder’s reference to the song—about showing support to a friend—essentially shows solidarity with protesters in the fiery wake of a St. Louis County, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, who was Black and unarmed.
He arrived in Atlanta at a time when anger continues to boil over in the wake of the grand jury’s decision in the divisive case, underscoring the long-running problem of police violence against Blacks in America. President Barack Obama asked Holder to set up the meetings in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson.
Holder also announced plans to update the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidelines for criminal profiling among federal law enforcement officers, the Associated Press reports.
“This will institute rigorous new standards— and robust safeguards—to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” Holder said. “This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”