Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Thursday issued a videotaped apology to the family of Michael Brown, and the community of Ferguson, but the olive branch he extended was not received well by some people who still feel not much has been done to address the fatal shooting of Brown, the New York Times reports.
Jackson described in the video how he understood the significance and severity of what happened to Brown, and that the aftermath has created an undercurrent of issues that still needs to be addressed.
“Overnight I went from being a small-town police chief, to being a part of a conversation about racism, equality and the role of policing,” he said.
“I want to be a part of that conversation, but I also want to be a part of the solution,” Jackson continued.
Besides the fatal shooting, which many found unjust with several witnesses saying that Brown’s hands were in the air in surrender, people were also angry about Brown’s body being left in the street for hours before law-enforcement officials removed it.
“I am also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” Jackson said, going on to explain how investigators needed to gather as much evidence as possible before removing the body. Still, Jackson said, the process “took too long.”
“I’m truly sorry for that,” he said to Brown’s family.
“The investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community or the people of Canefield [the residential community in which Brown died],” Jackson continued.
Jackson underscored the need to take a hard look at the relationship between the town’s African-American community and its law enforcement.
“I’m also aware of the pain and the feeling of mistrust felt in some of the African-American community toward the police department,” Jackson said, “It is clear that we have much work to do.
Jackson went on to apologize to the peaceful protesters who felt that he did not do enough to protect their constitutional rights to protest in the days after the shooting. He did make note of the small minority of protesters who were not peaceful, but maintained that officers should not have combined the two groups.
After releasing the video, the New York Times reports that Jackson went into the Ferguson community, in plain clothing, to march alongside a few protesters. However, Jackson was chastised by individuals who were presumably upset that the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, has not been arrested.
“What are we going to do to get justice?” one protester asked Jackson.
Read more at the New York Times.