FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The stepfather of Michael Brown has apologized for angry comments he made after the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who killed his stepson, but said his remarks had nothing to do with the arson and looting that ravaged Ferguson and the surrounding area.
Louis Head said Wednesday in a statement to CNN that he was full of emotion on the night of Nov. 24, when he yelled “Burn this bitch down!” in a crowd of protesters.
St. Louis County police said Tuesday they are investigating Head’s comments as part of a broader inquiry into the arson, vandalism and looting. Twelve commercial buildings were destroyed in the hours after the grand jury decision.
Head does not have a listed phone number, and there was no answer when an Associated Press reporter knocked at his listed address Wednesday. Attorneys for Brown’s family did not respond to several messages seeking comment.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Wilson, who is white, told the grand jury he fired because his life was in danger, but some witnesses said Brown, who was black and unarmed, was trying to surrender.
Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was on top of a car on a Ferguson street in front of the police station, surrounded by protesters, when she heard the grand jury announcement. She began sobbing. Her husband jumped on top of the car and hugged her, then yelled out.
The street was already noisy and grew louder as Head hugged his wife. He yelled without a microphone or any amplification. Some people who were close by couldn’t hear what he said.
Still, video of the comments immediately spread on Twitter, YouTube and other social media.
Head, in a statement to CNN, said, “I was so angry and full of raw emotions, as so many others were, and granted, I screamed out words that I shouldn’t have screamed in the heat of the moment.
“It was wrong, and I humbly apologize to all of those who read my pain and anger as a true desire for what I want for our community.”
But Head said to it’s unfair to place blame solely on him for the violence that transpired.
“In the end, I’ve lived in this community for a long time,” he said in the statement, according to CNN. “The last thing I truly wanted was to see it go up in flames. In spite of my frustration, it really hurt to see that.”
Remy Cross, a criminologist at Webster University in suburban St. Louis, said he would be surprised if Head is criminally charged, especially considering the emotional distress he was under at the time.
And Cross wondered why police would want to stir up emotions again, especially now that protests have died down to the point that police and the National Guard have scaled back their patrols. There have been no nighttime arrests at Ferguson protests since Friday.
“Given that this is such a raw situation already and given that there is already a sense of injustice at the hands of the legal system, this could be construed as provocation,” Cross said.
Remembering Mike Brown On His 19th Birthday (May 20, 1996- August 9, 2014)
1. Mike Brown, just a normal 18-year-old on his way to collegeSource:Facebook 1 of 30
2. Mike Brown playing around with a family memberSource:Facebook 2 of 30
3. Mike Brown's mother Lesley McFadden and father, Michael Brown, Sr. at a press conference.Source:Associated Press 3 of 30
4. Lesley McSpadden, Mike Brown's mother and his stepfather, Louis Head, comfort each other after his death.Source:Associated Press 4 of 30
5. Residents of Ferguson, Missouri create a memorial where Mike Brown was killed.Source:Associated Press 5 of 30
6. Clergy and residents gather in Ferguson.Source:Francis family 6 of 30
7. Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson.Source:Associated Press 7 of 30
8. Police and protestors come face to face in Ferguson.Source:Associated Press 8 of 30
9. Riot police on the scene in Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Associated Press 9 of 30
10. Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Associated Press 10 of 30
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12. Peaceful protest in Ferguson, Missouri.12 of 30
13. Howard University students stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Instagram 13 of 30
14. National Moment of Silence protest around the country, this one shut down Times SquareSource:Twitter 14 of 30
15. Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson changes the police tone in Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Associated Press 15 of 30
16. Milwaukee, Wisconsin protestors stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Facebook 16 of 30
17. Out of the mouths of babes.Source:Facebook 17 of 30
18. A candle for peace glows as part of a vigil in St. LouisSource:Twitter 18 of 30
19. Teens in Philadelphia observe the NMOS'14. It's all about LOVE.Source:Bill Chenevert 19 of 30
20. Mike Brown allegedly involved in store confrontation/robbery before his death.Source:Ferguson Police 20 of 30
21. Police stats from Ferguson, Missouri.Source:Mother Jones infographic 21 of 30
22. Protesters vandalize a police vehicle outside of the Ferguson city hall on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.Source:AP 22 of 30
23. Police officers confront protesters Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.Source:AP 23 of 30
24. ferguson_pend1-custom24 of 30
25. Police shoot pepper spray toward protesters in front of the Ferguson Police Department on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.Source:AP 25 of 30
26. In this aerial photo,people look at a row of charred cars at a used car dealership, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Dellwood, Mo.Source:AP 26 of 30
27. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Dallas, TX.Source:Instagram 27 of 30
28. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Atlanta, Georgia.Source:Instagram 28 of 30
29. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Boston, Massachusetts.Source:Instagram 29 of 30
30. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Source:Instagram 30 of 30
(Photo Source: AP)