Stepfather apologizes for remarks during Missouri protest: reports

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2014 11:56 AM

(Reuters) - The stepfather of a black teenager who was gunned down by a Missouri police officer apologized on Wednesday for his emotional comments during fiery protests last week, but said he did not cause the rioting, according to media reports.

Louis Head said his emotions "got the best of me" during protests of a grand jury's decision not to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, reports said.

The remarks were made in a statement obtained by NBC and CNN. A spokesman for the family attorney could not be reached to confirm the reports.

Head was caught on video comforting Brown's mother after the Nov. 24 decision, and then turning to a crowd of protesters and screaming repeatedly: "Burn this bitch down."

On Tuesday, St. Louis County police said they were probing who was responsible for setting fires, looting and destroying property during the demonstrations and named Head as a person of interest.

The findings will be presented to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, police said.

Head, in his statement, said he was "angry and full of raw emotions, as so many others were," according to the reports.

"I screamed out words that I shouldn't have screamed in the heat of the moment," he said. "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."

Head said he does not deserve the blame for inciting riots, CNN and NBC reported.

The grand jury decision was wrong, and the choice to declare "a state of emergency and send a message of war, and not peace, before a grand jury decision was announced is also wrong," Head said, according to the news networks.

In spite of his outburst, he said, he never wanted to see the destruction and violence.

"In the end, I've lived in this community for a long time," his statement said. "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."

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas)