In a video released Thursday, September 25, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson made a public apology to Michael Brown’s family and the Ferguson community for the tragedy that took place in August.
August 9, unarmed Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. His body was left in the street during investigation for nearly four hours.
Jackson began the video by saying, “I want to say this to the Brown family: No one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you’re feeling. I am truly sorry for the loss of your son.
“I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street. The time that it took involved very important work on the part of investigators who were trying to collect evidence and gain a true picture of what happened that day. But it was just too long, and I’m truly sorry for that,” Jackson continued.
Michael Brown’s death and Officer Wilson’s trial sparked great debate and controversy among the Ferguson community. Over the past month, many peaceful protesters paid homage at the crime scene. However, violent demonstrators have also been present, wreaking havoc by looting and vandalizing nearby businesses and assaulting Ferguson police officers.
Jackson addressed the peaceful protesters, whose safety was jeopardized during the riots. “The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect. If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible and I’m sorry,” he said.
Controversy will continue to surround the case as the grand jury comes to a decision regarding Officer Wilson’s indictment. The case is expected to be resolved as soon as late October. Until then, Officer Wilson will remain on paid administrative leave.
“Overnight I went from being a small-town police chief to being part of a conversation about racism, equality and the role of policing in that conversation. As chief of police, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution. The city belongs to all of us and we’re all part of this community. It is clear that we have much work to do. As a community, a city and a nation, we have real problems to solve,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s video has been accepted with general gratitude, including from Ferguson committeewoman, Patricia Bynes.
“I think that what’s happening is some assessment of what took place. One thing that I think the community feels is that no one in Ferguson is learning anything. Now it seems like there’s been some reflection,” Bynes said.
“For any mistakes I’ve made, I take full responsibility. It’s an honor to serve the city of Ferguson and the people who live there. I look forward to working with you in the future to solve our problems, and once again, I deeply apologize to the Brown family,” Jackson concluded.
To view the full video, follow this link.