In a video message, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson apologized to the parents of Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed last month by a police officer in the Missouri town.
"No one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you're feeling," he said in the video, first reported by CNN. "I am truly sorry for the loss of your son. I'm also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,"
He also apologized for the way police treated protesters in Ferguson, who took to the streets to march and protest in the days following the shooting.
"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.
Brown, a black teenager, was unarmed when he was shot on August 9th by Darren Wilson, a white St. Louis County police officer. His death sparked outrage in Ferguson and across the country. The Justice Department and the FBI are assisting local police in the investigation of Brown's death to determine whether or not excessive force or racial bias was a factor.
Wilson, who is on paid leave, has not been charged.
Jackson has been criticized for his department's handling of the case. In particular, many questioned his decision to release a video that allegedly showed Brown robbing a convenience store.
"Overnight I went from being a small-town police chief to being part of a conversation about racism, equality and the role of policing in that conversation," Jackson said in his video statement. "As chief of police, I want to be part of that conversation. I also want to be part of the solution."