'We Need to Have Everybody Tone It Down': Ferguson Police Rethinking Tactics

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, said Thursday that his department was reconsidering its tactics in what he called a “powder keg” of unrest over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager. Chief Thomas Jackson, responding to criticism of police officers who fired tear gas into crowds of protesters on Wednesday night, said: “I understand that what it looks like is not good.”

But he also said that firebombs and bricks had been thrown at officers by protesters, and that his officers had a duty to keep the streets open. “We would like the protesters to stop the violence. We certainly don’t want to have any violence on our part,” he said. “We want this to be peaceful. This is going to be a long process, so we need to have everybody tone it down.”

Jackson spoke at a news conference that was itself delayed by protests. He said that police were also working on a plan to mark off an area for the protesters with cones. He said that police would allow the protesters to demonstrate “as long as they want.”


— Hasani Gittens and Erin McClam