Attention, America: All of the fuss over the shooting of Michael Brown and the Keystone Stormtroopers police response is now taken care of, because Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson is real sorry that he and his police department were a bunch of useless (but murdery!) jerks, and has issued a video apology to Brown’s parents and Ferguson’s black community, at least the well-behaved segment of it. Let’s watch the video and see if there’s anything Jackson leaves out!
Hmmmm… it almost feels like he’s missing something in that apology, somehow.
CNN reports that Jackson had sought to give a “heartfelt apology,” and, incidentally, the network will be interviewing him later today, you lucky viewers.
Jackson began the apology with a brief acknowledgement that six weeks ago, he found himself in over his head, with no one to smack him and tell him “Shut up, Tommy, you’re out of your element.”
Overnight I went from being a small-town police chief to being part of a conversation about racism, equality and the role of policing in that conversation. As chief of police, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution.
To Brown’s family, Jackson said,
I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street. 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. Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community or the people of Canfield (the apartment complex where Brown was shot). They were simply trying to do their jobs.
Jackson didn’t indicate whether four hours in the August sun was typical of his department’s peak efficiency, or a special weekend rate of evidence collection in poor neighborhoods. He also was very very sorry that his department came down on peaceful protesters like a million-pound shithammer, which was maybe a mistake in retrospect, but who knows? He noted that most of the protesters in Ferguson were peaceful, but that some among them “had a different agenda.” But he
did want to say “to any peaceful protesters who did not feel I did enough to protect their Constitutional right to protest” — you know, if there happen to be any — that he’s quite regretful indeed:
The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect. If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible and I’m sorry.
Jackson even acknowledged that Ferguson “has much work to do” to address African-American citizens’ grievances and mistrust toward the police department, if any.
As far as it goes, it’s not a bad apology — except that it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Yes, Jackson addresses some real concerns, even if at moments he edges toward “I’m sorry if anyone was offended.”
There’s just one teensy little thing missing from the apology, of course: Jackson completely leaves out any apology for what has to be his biggest, most deliberate fuckup: his utter mismanagement of communication, starting with the slow rate at which any information was released and culminating in his decision to pair his release of Officer Wilson’s name with the inflammatory release of a police report and video of Mike Brown stealing cigars — an event that Jackson also took forever to admit had nothing to do with Wilson’s shooting of Brown. That was what really set off the angriest protests, and somehow, it’s mentioned nowhere in Jackson’s nicely-managed apology. Maybe that was included under “any other mistakes.”