Ferguson Police Chief Hits Back At Eric Holder

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Ferguson, Missouri police chief Tom Jackson is hitting back at Attorney General Eric Holder who recently called for “wholesale change” at the Ferguson police department.

“I think he’s about to leave office and needs to say he accomplished something in Ferguson,” Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday. “Right now, I’m low-hanging fruit.”

Jackson has faced intense scrutiny over the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

The chief’s critics have said he has failed to release information about the investigation in a timely fashion and that the department mishandled its response to widespread protests held in Ferguson following the shooting.

According to CNN’s report that Jackson would be stepping down from his position, the removal would be aimed at trying to “reduce tensions” in Ferguson, which is currently preparing for the impending announcement of a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision on whether to charge Wilson in Brown’s death.

But Jackson said he has no plans to resign his position, which he has held since 2010. Both he and Ferguson mayor James Knowles also said they have not been made aware of any plans to install a new chief.

Jackson also bristled at what he saw as inconsistent statements on the part of Holder, who complained recently about the leaking of details of the investigation into the shooting as well as testimony given to a St. Louis County grand jury to the press.

“Whoever the sources of the leaks are need to shut up,” Holder said Wednesday at an event in Washington D.C.

According to one leak, seven or eight African-American witnesses to the shooting gave testimony that supported Wilson’s version of events.

Brown’s official autopsy was also leaked, as were statements by law enforcement officials who said that Brown’s blood was found on Wilson’s gun.

Those reports were also largely seen as supportive of Wilson’s version of events.

“I’m mad,” Holder said Wednesday of the leaks. He also indicated that he believed the leaks were not coming from his agency, which would imply that he thinks they are springing from state and local law enforcement agencies. (RELATED: Eric Holder To Ferguson Leakers: ‘Shut Up’)

Holder also addressed the Department of Justice’s ongoing “patterns and practices” civil rights investigation of the Ferguson police department.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department is appropriate,” Holder said.

Jackson called those remarks “irresponsible” given that the Department of Justice is still investigating the Ferguson police department.  He also said he was troubled by Holder’s remarks in light of the fact that “he is telling others to ‘shut up’ about leaks.”

Follow Chuck on Twitter