Ferguson Police Chief, PR Firm Release Apology Video

A couple of days ago we posted on a talking points document produced by someone close to the local government in Ferguson, Missouri. It provided a detailed look into the town’s plans to protect itself against damage inflicted by the ongoing story regarding the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent civil unrest that captivated so many.

It also told us that the city had hired not one but two PR firms: Common Ground and the Devin James Group. It would appear that Common Ground is handling media relations while the James Group attends to crisis comms and community outreach. (Here’s an interesting Twitter interaction between the two parties.)

This morning saw the debut of an apology video featuring Tom Jackson, the town’s chief of police and the subject of much online discussion.

The clip appears to have been produced by the Devin James Group; it was featured on the firm’s page and distributed to national news sources, several of which have already run stories.

You’ll note that Jackson’s speech is both scripted and informal. He even reads directly from a printed statement.

Whoever made the decisions regarding the video’s aesthetics also wisely chose not to present Jackson in uniform — a strategy that, like having him hold the prepared statement in his hands, positions him as another concerned citizen rather than an authority figure.

Jackson addresses Brown’s parents directly and speaks about many of the protesters’ primary complaints regarding his department’s handling of the case, though his demeanor indicates that he recognizes this clip as merely a first step in repairing the damage done.

What do we think?

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.