A “scuffle” near Ferguson, Missouri police chief Thomas Jackson resulted in the arrests of several individuals and a subsequent hours-long “uneasy standoff” between police and protesters outside the city’s police department, CNN reported early Friday.
Jackson delivered a lengthy, public apology Thursday to the family of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black teenager shot and killed last month by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. According to CNN, commotion arose when, following Jackson’s apology, the chief entered the crowd peacefully, causing a nearby brawl that ended in the arrests of those allegedly involved.
“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. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” Jackson said in a video statement earlier Thursday, wearing a polo shirt, not his uniform.
Brown’s body was left in the street for hours outside the housing complex where he lived. Jackson said it took time for investigators to work, but conceded that it “was just too long, and I am truly sorry for that.”
Ferguson became ground zero in a national conversation about race and policing, and Jackson now says he wants to be a part of that conversation. But Jackson added that he wanted to apologize first to the Brown family. As protesters moved into Ferguson, the town’s police force was sidelined by county and state officers, in recognition of the deep distrust for the local police.
Jackson also apologized for the crackdown on peaceful protesters. “The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect. If anyone who is peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible, and I’m sorry,” he said, noting that some people in the street were violent and engaged in looting.
Jackson also spoke to the larger issues in a majority black town policed by a predominantly white police force. “As a community, a city and a nation, we have real problems to solve, not just in Ferguson, but the entire region and beyond. For any mistakes I have made, I take full responsibility.”
There was more looting and confrontations with police Tuesday night in Ferguson. “We can not have nights like last night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who was brought into take control from Ferguson police, told reporters.
It remains to be seen whether Jackson’s apology, almost two months after Brown was killed, will satisfy protesters.