Immediately following the shooting death by police, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and his police chief came under criticism and scrutiny. Finally, beginning with the fact that Brown’s body was left uncovered in the street for almost for almost four hours, the chief appearing in a red polo-type shirt offered the family his condolences and apologies.
Ferguson Police Chief’s apology
“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,” Chief Jackson said in a video statement.
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“I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” Jackson said. “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.
“Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community, or the people of Canfield,” Jackson said. “They were simply trying to do their jobs.”
While there is little question that the apology will be viewed by millions with an “about damn time”, it will be interesting to see how the world reacts to the apology and its content. Unlike the mayor of Ferguson who, following the shooting, suggested that Ferguson didn’t have a racial divide, Jackson seemed genuinely contrite in the video. While certainly too late, is a too little or is the message people all over the country (and the world) has been waiting for for weeks?
With the Ferguson police department effectively being replaced by state police and later the National Guard, Jackson really isn’t on the hook for the perceived and often very real mishandling of the protests that followed the shooting immediately and lasted for some time.
The return of violence?
Ferguson has the very real chance of erupting in violence at any given time. This was demonstrated on Tuesday night when a group of 200 protesters smashed windows, tried to set fire to a bakery, and threw rocks at police. This came after one of the Brown memorials on Canfield Drive, where he was shot. was consumed by fire.
And there remains a very real sense that if a secret grand jury were to fail to charge police officer Darren Wilson who shot Brown, that Ferguson will once again explode into outrage.
Possibly referring to the Ferguson City Council, which recently introduced reforms with the goal of easing tensions in the community, Jackson concluded his remarks.
“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,” Jackson said. “As chief of police, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution.”