Ferguson Police Chief Issues Apology to Michael Brown’s Family

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Ferguson, Mo. Police Chief Thomas Jackson (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS — As the parents of Michael Brown appeared Thursday in the nation’s capital to call on the Justice Department to take over the case of their 18-year-old son whom police shot in August, the chief in the St. Louis suburb where he was killed apologized to the Brown family.

Police Chief Thomas Jackson in Ferguson, Mo., issued a video apology Thursday to Brown’s parents and peaceful protesters, according to a St. Louis public-relations firm’s video.

“I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” said Jackson, dressed casually in a red polo shirt. “You have every right to be angry and upset. The time that it took involved the completion of the work of the investigators to preserve physical evidence and determine the facts, but 4½ hours was simply too long.”

Ferguson was the site of sometimes violent protests and looting in the days after Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, shot Brown, who was black and unarmed, on Aug. 9. Witnesses said that Brown had his hands raised above his head before he was shot dead.

Resentment lingers among those who question why Wilson hasn’t been arrested and remains on paid administrative leave.  “Apologies should have been done the same day,” said Anthony Bell of St. Louis’ 3rd Ward. “If they haven’t done it up until now, I think the sentiment is not acceptable.”

Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., went to Washington along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, President Cornell Brooks of the NAACP, President Marc Morial of the Urban League and Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump asking for federal reviews of police misconduct and for a grand jury to indict Wilson immediately.

“Whether they wear blue jeans or blue uniforms, criminals must be held accountable,” Sharpton said at a news conference.

Crump said African-American communities are “in the midst of a pandemic of police misconduct.”

Michael Brown Sr. wore a tie memorializing his son, who was scheduled to start college two days after he was killed, and thanked his family’s supporters. McSpadden also spoke briefly.

The family of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six who died July 17 after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold, also called for action in its case. In Garner’s arrest and death that a friend captured on videotape, Garner can be heard saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!”

The NAACP released a report Thursday, titled Born Suspect: Stop-and-Frisk Abuses & the Continued Fight to End Racial Profiling in America, that looks at the 20 states without laws explicitly prohibiting racial profiling and the 30 states with some form of racial profiling laws on the books.

“Not much has changed” in the past decade, said Niaz Kasravi, the report’s lead author and the NAACP’s director of criminal justice. “I can’t tell you how many parents have sat with me in their living rooms and talked about their sons or daughters who are no longer with us and flipped through photo albums. It’s heart wrenching.”

The NAACP and Urban League are committed to seeking justice on behalf of those families, Morial said.

In addition to apologizing to Brown’s family, Jackson talks in the video about the violence surrounding protests of Brown’s death.

“I am sorry to any peaceful protester who believes that I didn’t do my best job of protecting people and supporting the Constitution and everyone’s First Amendment rights to peacefully protest and publicly grieve here in Ferguson,” he said. “The right of the people to peaceably assemble is what the police are supposed to protect.”

“As a community, a city and a nation, we have real problems to solve, not just in Ferguson, but in the entire region and beyond,” Jackson said. “For any mistakes I have made in any of this, I take full responsibility.”

article by Christina Coleman and Greg Toppo via usatoday.com

5 thoughts on “Ferguson Police Chief Issues Apology to Michael Brown’s Family”

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  2. “Apologies should have been done the same day,” said Anthony Bell of St. Louis’ 3rd Ward.

    That was the first thing that crossed my mind. I chuckled and rolled my eyes when I first came across this information a little earlier. And a video, he couldn’t apologize to the family and protestors face-to-face!?!

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