Ferguson Police Chief Denies Resignation Report Ahead of Grand Jury's Verdict on Darren Wilson; 'If I Do Resign, It Will Be My Own Choice'

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference at police headquarters in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 13.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference at police headquarters in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 13. | (Photo: Courtesy - Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

Embattled Ferguson, Missouri Police Chief Tom Jackson has denied reports claiming he will step down next week after months of unrest over the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

On Tuesday, a CNN report cited government officials as saying Jackson would leave his post as part of an effort by city officials to overhaul the Ferguson police department. It was also said that the St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar would be asked to step in as the interim chief for Ferguson upon Jackson's departure, but he insists this is untrue.

"It's absolutely not true. Nobody has asked me to resign nor have I been fired," Jackson told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "If I do resign, it will be my own choice."

Racial unrest is still prevalent throughout the city as the community awaits a St. Louis County grand jury decision on whether Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted for the shooting death of Brown.

Since the Aug. 9 shooting, protesters have taken to the streets of Ferguson daily, demanding justice in the form of Wilson's arrest. Last month Jackson apologized for the police department's handling of the incident, particularly the way policemen clashed with protesters.

"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," he said.

The CNN resignation report follows news that protesters will likely continue with demonstrations, regardless of whether charges are brought against Wilson.

While supporters of the Brown family initially began demonstrations in Aug. to protest the late teen's death, the rallies have since become about other issues facing the African-American community.

"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," said CNN legal analyst Mark O' Mara. "And if [Jackson's] sort of a sacrificial lamb to get this started, it's going to have to be. Ferguson's going to have to more forward. And it doesn't seem they can move forward with this police chief in place."

Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain has been arrested twice while protesting in Ferguson. He said the demonstrations will continue because the community is fed up with what he described as being St. Louis' "draconian system of policing."

"Well, the people are going to continue to resist, indictment or no indictment. They will continue to resist in various forms, whether it be in the courts or in the streets because this is not simply about an indictment," Pastor Sekou told The Christian Post exclusively.

"The indictment of Darren Wilson would be the beginning of the possibilities of a just Ferguson, a just St. Louis, a just Missouri, a just nation, because you know it's not just about one bad cop, it's about an evil system, a draconian system of policing," he added.

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