Thomas Jackson (police chief, Ferguson, MO)

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This article is about Thomas Jackson (police chief, Ferguson, MO). For other uses of the term Thomas Jackson, please see Thomas Jackson (disambiguation).
Thomas Jackson
Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson at press conference (cropped).jpg
Occupation Chief of Police
Salary $100,000 in 204

Thomas Jackson is a former police officer.[1][2] He was the Chief of Police of Ferguson, Missouri when one of his officers, Darren Wilson, killed an 18 year-old black man, Michael Brown, on August 9, 2014. He had been Chief since 2010. His department included 54 police officers.

The killing triggered outrage, and protests.[1][2] Jackson's response to community outrage was seen as heavy-handed, as it included tear gas and riot squads. Jackson resigned after a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Justice criticized systemic racism within his department. His was the sixth resignation after the killing.

Jackson published a book about the incident, in July 2017, entitled “Policing Ferguson, Policing America: What Really Happened — and What the Country Can Learn From It.”[3] Primary premises of the book include the assertion that officer Wilson was justified to use deadly force, and he did so in an appropriate manner; and that Wilson, Jackson himself, and all other local policemen, were unfairly demonized by a hostile and irresponsible press.[4][5] He was critical of Attorney General Eric Holder, who he argued, lead a premature rush to judgement.

According to a review in Publisher's Weekly Jackson book "adds little clarity".[6]

In An Exploration of Trust in Community Leadership Contexts the authors quoted Jackson's acknowledgment that he had no training for many of the roles he found himself called upon to perform[7]:

"I have no training in social work or urban planning, education or economic development, and still, as a public servant and citizen, as well as a police officer, I involved myself in various efforts in all of these different areas, not only because the public seems to expect that from cops, but because these are ways in which I can have a positive impact."[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson resigns after scathing report, CBC News, 2015-03-11. Retrieved on 2022-07-19. “The resignation of Chief Thomas Jackson was the latest in a string of departures since the Justice Department said on March 4 that a months-long probe had uncovered a range of unlawful and unconstitutional practices in the St. Louis suburb.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ferguson: Key figures in the Michael Brown case, CTV News. Retrieved on 2022-07-19. “Thomas Jackson was a police veteran long before he came to Ferguson. He spent more than 30 years with the St. Louis County Police Department, at one point serving as commander of a drug task force. Before that he was a SWAT team supervisor, undercover detective and hostage negotiator.”
  3. Harry Levins. Ex-police chief tells his own side of Ferguson shooting, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2017-07-29. Retrieved on 2022-07-19. “Jackson has written a book that swerves from anger at what he sees as unfair condemnation of his police force to some well-reasoned thoughts on how police departments and communities can get along better.” mirror
  4. Stacey Vanek Smith. 'Policing Ferguson, Policing America': The Unrest Over The Death Of Michael Brown, National Public Radio, 2017-08-06. Retrieved on 2022-07-20. “And, by the way, the politicians just threw the police under the bus right away. So they criticized us for using tear gas, but when you've got a violent crowd that's - where people are shooting guns, throwing rocks and urine and things like that, that's a deadly force situation for everybody. And tear gas is the safest way to disperse a crowd without hurting anybody. The other choices, you know, being nightsticks and things.”
  5. Policing Ferguson, Policing America: What Really Happened—and What the Country Can Learn from It, Storytel, 2022-05-16. Retrieved on 2022-07-20. (in Arabic) “Following the fatal shooting in broad daylight of unarmed African American Michael Brown by a white cop in August 2014, Ferguson, Missouri became the scene of protests that pitted police against locals and Black Lives Matter.”
  6. Policing Ferguson, Policing America: What Really Happened—and What the Country Can Learn from It, Publisher's Weekly. Retrieved on 2022-07-20. “He firmly believes that his department was defamed by the unruly media and a biased federal investigation. Although the FBI concluded that the shooting was justified, the Justice Department’s review of the Ferguson police force under Jackson’s leadership found a pattern of unconstitutional conduct aimed at the city’s African-American population.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Hudanick, Kimberlie M. Straatmann, Michael Miller, Andrea Harper, Joshua White (2019-05-25). An Exploration of Trust in Community Leadership Contexts. University of Missouri. Retrieved on 2022-07-20.