Attorney General Eric Holder vowed Tuesday to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the death of Michael Brown, as he prepares to travel to Ferguson, Mo., to personally witness the chaotic scene in the St. Louis suburb.

“This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent,” Holder wrote in an op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve."

President Obama is sending Holder to Ferguson to survey the situation after nights of violent clashes between protesters and police. The president was reluctant to comment extensively on the investigation, leaving Holder as the highest-profile administration official on the ground in Ferguson.

Protesters say Brown’s death was racially motivated, while supporters of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot the 18-year-old black man, counter he acted in self-defense.

Holder will attempt to assuage protesters’ concerns and urge them to stop the growing violence and looting that have marked the demonstrations.

“In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson,” Holder wrote. “Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority — and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson — they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance.“