CNN published a report stating that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson is set to resign in the future as part of the city’s effort to reform the police department. CNN says the information came from government officials who are, “familiar with the ongoing discussions between local, state and federal officials.” It is also being reported that the announcement of Jackson’s resignation could come as soon as next week. Jackson’s resignation as police chief would most likely mean that he would be asked by city leadership to take over management of Ferguson’s police force according to a current proposed plan.
While Jackson stepping down would be a step in the right direction toward reducing tensions between citizens and local officials as the grand jury decision is being deliberated, Jackson and Ferguson’s mayor are both saying that reports of Jackson’s pending resignation are not true. In a telephone interview with CNN, Jackson stated, “Nobody in my chain of command has asked me to resign, nor have I been terminated. Mayor James Knowles stated, “People have been saying that for months, I mean for him to step down. But we’ve stood by him this entire time. so there is no change on that.”
CNN legal analyst Mark O’Mara feels that Jackson stepping down would be a positive development stating, “The animosity that existed in Ferguson were way before Mike Brown’s shooting, justified or not. So, unfortunately, the leadership in the police department has to change. And if he’s sort of a sacrificial lamb to get this started, it’s going to have to be. Ferguson’s going to have to move forward. And it doesn’t seem they can move forward with this police chief in place.” Jackson has been criticized for how the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown was handled as well as the protests that ensued in the aftermath. Just last month, Jackson issued an apology to Brown’s parents and peaceful protestors stating, “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…I deeply apologize to the Brown family.” Many felt the apology was delayed and ineffective. with one person in attendance calling for Jackson’s resignation immediately following the apology.
A grand jury has been reviewing evidence related to Officer Darren Wilson gunning down Michael Brown, who was unarmed. Leaked information and reports in recent days are indicating that the grand jury will announce a decision to not indict Wilson in the coming days. CNN analyst Michael Smerconish believes that if Jackson is in fact going to resign, it could be a “calibrated and intended” attempt to “take the temperature down of the community. I’m absolutely convinced we’re headed for no indictment in this case.”