The public relations representative handling media requests for the town of Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting once shot and killed an unarmed man, the St.-Louis Dispatch reported.
Devin Sean James, 32, began managing the St. Louis suburb’s public relations strategy following the unarmed shooting death of 18-year-old Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
In 2006, James was convicted of reckless homicide in Tennessee, charges he said stemmed from self-defense, according to the article in the Dispatch. The shooting occurred in 2004, followed by a trial a few years later and an appeal that ultimately was denied. In 2009, James was jailed for 90 days, and his probation ended earlier this year in March.
Officials were aware of James’ conviction before hiring him. He replaced the original public relations firm hired by the city after officials were criticized for not hiring a minority.
However, a spokeswoman for the agency responsible for paying James did not know about his conviction until Thursday, according to the Dispatch. Shortly after, the agency said it was parting ways with the PR rep.
James, owner of the Devin James Group, arranged for the statement released Thursday in which Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson apologized to Brown’s family, almost two months after the teen’s death.
Protests and violence broke out in Ferguson following Brown’s death, and the community continues to demand justice. The jury has until Jan. 7 to determine whether or not Wilson should be indicted on criminal charges. Wilson, who has been on paid administrative leave since the incident in the St. Louis suburb, appeared in public for the first time in more than a month last week to testify before the grand jury.