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ST. LOUIS COUNTY – A federal civil rights investigation has been opened by the Justice Department into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, according to the U.S. Attorney's office of Eastern District of Missouri.

In a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Molly Moran and FBI SAC William Woods, the independent investigation will determine if any federal civil rights violations have occurred in the case.

Saturday afternoon, a police officer shot Brown, who was unarmed, according to local authorities. According to the release, the federal authorities will work with local law enforcement to determine state violations as well.

Earlier this week, the FBI announced a federal parallel investigation of the shooting death.

Witnesses have been urged to contact the St. Louis FBI office at 314-589-2500.

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