CHICAGO — The police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, issued a rare public apology Thursday for the death of Michael Brown, addressing the Brown family directly in a short video posted online.
“I want to say this to the Brown family. No one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you’re feeling,” the police chief, Thomas Jackson, said, wearing a polo shirt and standing in front of an American flag.
“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. “The time that it took involved very important work on the part of investigators who were trying to collect evidence and gain a true picture of what happened that day. But it was just too long, and I’m truly sorry for that.”
Brown, 18, was shot to death Aug. 9 by Darren Wilson, a police officer, and his body was left in the street for about four hours, stirring outrage in the community. Wilson has not been charged with a crime.
“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. “The city belongs to all of us, and we’re all part of this community. It is clear that we have much work to do. As a community, a city and a nation, we have real problems to solve.”
Since Brown’s death, Ferguson has been roiled by protests and anger over the circumstances of the killing. A grand jury has been meeting since late August to decide whether to indict Wilson. A decision is expected as soon as late October.
A lawyer for the Brown family, Anthony Gray, said in a text message that the apology “comes at a time when the trust and confidence in the chief has reached an irreversible low.”
“It is nearly impossible to measure any reach of his apology at this time,” Gray wrote. “Most observers, I believe, are locked into their opinions about the handling of the shooting of this unarmed teen.”