Ferguson police chief apologises
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) – Police and protesters clashed briefly in Ferguson just hours after the St Louis suburb’s police chief issued an apology to the family of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer last month.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson appeared outside the police department in civilian clothes late yesterday to assure protesters that there would be changes in the wake of Brown’s killing, The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“All those things that are causing mistrust are being evaluated and we are going to be making changes,” Jackson said.
The police chief started to march with protesters around 11 p.m. Soon after, a scuffle broke out about 20 feet behind the chief and one protester was arrested. The Post-Dispatch said at least three other protesters were arrested after another confrontation.
The Ferguson Police Department spokesman didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press early today.
Earlier yesterday, Jackson released a video apology to Brown’s family and the community in which he acknowledged that Brown’s body should have been removed from the street much sooner after he was killed. Brown’s body remained on Canfield Drive, a residential street, for more than four hours while police collected evidence.
“It was just too long and I’m truly sorry for that,” Jackson, dressed casually in a red polo shirt instead of his police uniform, said on the video.
“Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community or the people of Canfield (Drive). They were simply trying to do their jobs.”
To the Brown family, Jackson said: “I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son.”
Brown’s parents declined comment when told about Jackson’s video during a news conference with civil rights leaders at the National Press Club. Their attorney later said they hadn’t heard about the video but would review it.
Brown was unarmed when he was fatally shot August 9 during a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson. The shooting sparked numerous protests and racial unrest in the predominantly black community.
Some residents and civil rights activists have said responding police officers were overly aggressive, noting their use of tear gas and military-style vehicles and gear.
“It is clear that we have much work to do,” Jackson said in the video.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Ferguson Police Department for possible civil rights violations.