Protests in Ferguson, Mo. on Thursday evening resulted in several arrests, after tensions grew between police and civilians. Why? Because Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, a man who has received heavy criticism for his handling of teenager Michael Brown's death, decided to march with the protesters who were calling for his resignation.
The protest began just hours after Jackson issued his first apology (over a month and a half after the incident) for Brown's death. "I want to say this to the Brown family. No one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you are feeling," Jackson said in a video released by a local public relations firm. "I am truly sorry for the loss of your son."
"The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect," he continued. "If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry I feel responsible and I'm sorry."
Jackson joined the protest in Ferguson around 11 p.m. According to Mediaite's Tina Nguyen, Jackson had only joined the protest for a moment when violence broke out:
“I don’t think he was marching with the protesters more than 30 seconds before the riot cops came out into the crowd and tried to get themselves closer to him and protect him,” St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who’s been on the ground in Ferguson since Brown’s death last month, told NBC News. “Just them being out there pushing started stuff — it’s a complete misread of the situation. His very presence agitated the crowd.” French tweeted later that Jackson’s very ability to spark a riot by merely being there, in a crowd full of Ferguson residents, was a clear sign that the police chief needed to step down from his position immediately.