Allman Exclusive: Former Ferguson Police Chief Jackson Gives Inside Look On Protests
ST. LOUIS —
Retired Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson led the city's police department through its most trying time. In August, 2014, a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, Jr. The protests and violence that followed erupted almost immediately, but things got worse in November, when a grand jury cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.
Chief Jackson talked to The Allman Report about what was going on behind the scenes during that time, and he talks even more about it in his new book, "Policing Ferguson, Policing America: What Really Happened, and What the Country Can Learn from It".
Jackson says that what happened started with misinformation spreading rapidly on social media. He says the narrative of "hands up, don't shoot", where Brown supposedly was shot with his hands up asking the officer not to shoot him is out in the public with many believing it, despite the fact that several witnesses completely contradicted the claim.
Jackson also says that many area politicians chose to put their political ambitions ahead of what was good for the community, and he names names in his book. His number one worst offender: then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Jackson says Nixon decided in advance to not send the national guard into Ferguson, despite growing protests. He says several Ferguson leaders plead with Nixon the night of the grand jury announcement to send the guard in, which was ignored.
Those events put Ferguson in the middle of the debate over police use of deadly force in America. Jackson says that Ferguson was made a scapegoat by politicians, and that the Obama Administration's Department of Justice wrote a report that was tailor-made to fit its view of police.
Jackson also effectively endorsed St. Louis City Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole as the best choice to take over for retired Chief Sam Dotson, but says because of the spotlight and what has happened in the area, the department will probably see someone who is more of a politician take over the job.
As for Chief Tom Jackson, what's next for him? He may end up in the world of politics himself, maybe even run for U.S. Senate next year. He says he's not ruling anything out at the moment.