(AP) – The police chief in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson resigned Wednesday in the wake of a scathing Justice Department report prompted by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer.
The city said in a statement that it reached a mutual separation agreement with Chief Thomas Jackson, who will get a severance payment and a year of health insurance. Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff will become acting chief March 19 while the city searches for a replacement.
Jackson had previously resisted calls by protesters and some of Missouri’s top elected leaders to step down over his handling of the August shooting of Michael Brown and the weeks of sometimes-violent protests that followed. He was widely criticized from the outset, both for an aggressive police response to protesters and for his agency’s erratic and infrequent releases of key information.
He took nearly a week to publicly identify Officer Darren Wilson as the shooter and then further heightened tension in the community by releasing Wilson’s name at the same time as store security video that police said showed Brown stealing a box of cigars and shoving a clerk only a short time before his death.