The first steps in a major shakeup of the Ferguson, Missouri police department – including the resignation of Chief Thomas Jackson – could come as early as next week, according to local and federal officials who’ve been briefed on plans still being worked out by city and state leaders.
The plan, described by a source with direct knowledge of the plans as “extremely delicate,” said the details are still being hashed out in closed-door meetings between Ferguson city and St. Louis County officials who have sought consultation from the Justice Department, which is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the plan could include not just the resignation of Chief Jackson but the resignation of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson street, setting the city into weeks of unrest.
The source who spoke with msnbc said Chief Jackson and Officer Wilson are expected to be eased out of the Ferguson police force, before what could be a full-scale take over of the Ferguson force by the St. Louis County police.
CNN reported Tuesday that Jackson was expected to step down as early as next week. Jackson denied that report, telling NBC News “I have not been asked to resign, I have not been fired, and I will not be resigning next week. If I do resign, it will be my choice.”
The Ferguson Police Department also said Tuesday night there were no plans yet for Jackson to step down.
A source within the Obama administration would only confirm that plans for a shakeup of the Ferguson Police Department were in the works, but that details have not been cemented.
The plans offer a glimpse into the behind the scene efforts to heal this blistered city pulling apart at the seams as community leaders and residents await a grand jury’s decision as to indict or not to indict Officer Wilson in Brown’s death.