Washington (CNN)Retiring U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing back against critics who say he was too aggressive in the early days of the Ferguson fallout.
Holder defends DOJ's Ferguson investigation
Holder who sat down with CNN's Justice correspondent Pamela Brown at the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters on Thursday in Washington, said the criticism he received from some corners for his handling of the Ferguson situation was unfair, especially those who said Holder played too much of an activist role.
Holder was blasted by some for ordering an independent autopsy and opening a parallel investigation into the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown last year. Though not routine, Holder said, "I'm sure there have been other circumstances in which we have made use of independent investigative techniques."
While it has been reported that the Justice Department will likely not bring civil rights charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed Brown while on duty, Holder would not indicate either way, saying the investigation is almost complete and he expects to announce a decision before he leaves office. Wilson was not charged criminally for killing Brown.
As to whether legal action will be brought against the Ferguson Police Department, Holder said it would not be the first time the government has sued a police department.
"We have brought record numbers of cases since I've been attorney general against various police departments around the country, all in the name of trying to make law enforcement better and trying to bridge the gap between some communities and some people in law enforcement," he said.
Holder also said he believes his presence in Ferguson, Missouri, following days of mayhem in the streets, helped to quiet the situation.
"One has to remember what the situation was like in Ferguson when I went out there. Street disruptions, nightly riots almost that were occurring," he said. "It was a high risk thing for the president and I to decide for me to go out there and see if I might have a calming influence. I think if you see what happened after I left Ferguson, the situation changed and changed pretty dramatically, so I think that was an appropriate thing to do."