Ferguson police chief’s mind-blowing statement: Everybody needs to “calm down”

The chief responded to questions about overzealous policing at last night's protest VIDEO

Topics: Video, Ferguson, Police, Protests,

Ferguson police chief's mind-blowing statement: Everybody needs to "calm down"A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 13, 2014. (Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson)

At a press conference held this morning in Ferguson, Police Chief Thomas Jackson addressed members of the press, visibly flustered, to answer questions about police conduct during the protests the evening before.

“What’s happening now is not what any of us want,” he said. “We need to get everyone to calm down, bring some peace to this.”

“We want everybody to be able to protest, we know they’re going to protest, we want to facilitate their ability to protest — because it’s a constitutional right — so we’re working with the leaders to try and put this together,” he continued.

OK, the sentiment is well-taken, but “calm down”? The protesters are supposed to calm down when during a mostly peaceful protest they were pelted with rubber bullets and assaulted with tear gas? The press is supposed to calm down when two reporters were arrested for not leaving a McDonald’s quickly enough?

Or, possibly, did Jackson mean that the police need to calm down?

“There is gunfire, there is firebombs being thrown at the police,” he said. “I understand that what it looks like — is not good. The whole situation is not good at this point. That’s why there’s several meetings going on right now to evaluate tactics, how we approach this.”

The rest of the press conference is below:

Joanna Rothkopf

Joanna Rothkopf is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on science, health and society. Follow @JoannaRothkopf or email jrothkopf@salon.com.

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