James Knowles(R), mayor of Ferguson, MO, apologized on Thursday after CNN host Chris Cuomo call him on his bigotry. Rather than recognize any humanity in Michael Brown, Knowles repeatedly referred to the unarmed African-American teen gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson’s body as an “it.”
Knowles claims there is “no racial divide” in Ferguson. “There’s 22,000 residents in our community,” Knowles told MSNBC on Tuesday. “This has affected about a half-mile strip of street in our community,” he said of the protests that have sprung up since the murder. “The rest of the African Americans in our community are going about their daily lives, going to our businesses, walking their dog, going to our neighborhood watch meetings.”
Knowles told Cuomo that as soon as the demonstrations began, he supported counter-protests like the demonstrations by a group that has so far raised tens of thousands of dollars to reward Officer Wilson for shooting down Michael Brown.
“Right when this began, there were some people that thought, you know, we should go out there and counter-protest,” he explained. “The national media is saying that we’re this divided community. That we’re divided among socioeconomic lines, that we’re divided among racial lines. And so we wanted — everybody here wanted to make sure that people realized that we are not divided per se. We are united.”
Cuomo asked if police could have handled things better–for instance, could they have not left Michael Brown’s body lying in the street for hours after he was dead?
“If we hadn’t called St. Louis County police in from the start to do the investigation, which we did, we would have been criticized for covering up,” Knowles said. “We had to leave the crime scene — you know, for lack of a better term — intact.”
“The body was covered for a while, and so it wasn’t covered — it was uncovered for a while, and there was a lot of picture of that,” he added. “But as soon as they got an ambulance there, they did cover it for a while. And then they put up the screens.”
However many dispute claims that an ambulance arrived at all. A video surfaced that showed Brown’s body being dumped into the back of an unmarked SUV. Police dispatch recordings released by the hacktivist group Anonymous indicate that no ambulance was on the scene, as well.
“It was left out there for a while,” Knowles said of Michael Brown’s body.
“And when you say it, you mean he,” Cuomo interrupted.
“Yeah,” Knowles replied. “I’m sorry. You’re right. The body. The gentleman.”
Watch the Mayor reluctantly recognize Brown as a human being, below: