Police and protestors clashed briefly on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., hours after Chief of Police Tom Jackson issued a video apology to the family of Michael Brown, the black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer just last month.
Jackson appeared outside the St. Louis suburb’s police department, not dressed in uniform, to assure protestors that changes would be made in the wake of Brown’s death.
“All those things that are causing mistrust [between Ferguson civilians and the police] are being evaluated and we are going to be making changes,”Jackson said.
The police chief was marching outside with protestors around 11pm when a scuffle broke out about 20 feet behind him, leading to rising tensions and at least four protestors’ arrests.
No comment was made from the Ferguson Police Department.
On Sept. 25, Jackson released a video apology to Brown’s family and the Ferguson community, acknowledging that the slain teen’s body should have been removed from the street much sooner after he was killed. Brown’s body had reportedly been left on the residential Canfield Drive for more than four hours, while police collected evidence at the crime scene.
“It was just too long and I’m truly sorry for that,” Jackson said, dressed casually in a red polo instead of his police uniform.“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.”
“I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son,” he apologized on video to the Brown family, looking directly into the camera.
Brown’s parents declined comment when informed of the video apology during a news conference with civil rights leaders at the National Press Club. They hadn’t heard about the video, but would review it, said the Browns’ attorney.
The teen was unarmed when he was shot on August 9 in a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson. The incident caused an outbreak of protests and civil unrest throughout Ferguson, a predominantly black community with a majority-white police force. Many residents and civil rights leaders are calling out Ferguson officers for their overly aggressive, police brutality tactics.
The US Department of Justice is currently looking into the situation and thoroughly investigating the police department.
“It is clear that we have much work to do,”Chief Jackson admitted in the video.
(With reports from Associated Press)