Ferguson, Missouri, Police Chief Thomas Jackson issued a video Thursday apologizing to the parents of Michael Brown and the black community for any mistrust they may feel toward the police department.
“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, and as a resident, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution,” Chief Jackson said in a video provided to CNN by the Devin James Group — a marketing firm that the city of Ferguson hired when Brown’s death brought national attention to the St. Louis suburb.
Chief Jackson apologized to Brown’s parents, as well as the community, for the four hours it took for investigators to remove the slain teen’s body from the street after Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him on Aug. 9.
“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 am truly sorry for that,” the police chief said. “Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community, or the people of Canfield. They were simply trying to do their jobs.”
Chief Jackson also apologized to “any peaceful protester who did not feel that I did enough to protect their Constitutional right to protest.”
“If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible, and I am sorry,” he said.
And lastly, the police chief apologized to the black community for “the pain and the feeling of mistrust” some might feel toward the Ferguson police.
“The city belongs to all of us, and we all are part of this community,” he said. “It’s clear that we have much work to do. As a community, a city, and a nation we have real problems to solve. Not just in Ferguson but the entire region and beyond. For any mistakes I have 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.”
National Guard troops had to be ordered into Ferguson last month after it erupted into looting and violence following Wilson’s shooting of the 18-year-old Brown. The violence eventually calmed but resurfaced this week after one of three Brown memorials at the site of the shooting caught fire, CNN reported.