Ferguson Police Chief Says CNN Report Is Wrong, Denies Plans to Resign

click to enlarge Chief Tom Jackson releases the name of the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown to the media. - CHAD GARRISON
Chad Garrison
Chief Tom Jackson releases the name of the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown to the media.

CNN caused quite a stir late Tuesday by breaking the news that Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson will step down soon as part of a multifaceted plan to overhaul the department.

But so far, there's no sign that CNN's big scoop is true.

Jackson, St. Louis County's police chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson mayor John Knowles and other police, city and county officials repeatedly and resoundingly told media Jackson has no immediate plans to step down, nor is he being fired.

See also: Ferguson Police Chief Apologizes to Brown Family, Protesters: "I Feel Responsible"

"I have not been told I must resign, nor have I been fired," Jackson told KMOV (Channel 4). "If I do resign in the future, it will be my choice. However, it is not imminent."

The Ferguson Police Department repeated Jackson's sentiment in a tweet from its little-used Twitter account: CNN is standing by its report that Jackson's ouster is imminent, citing anonymous government officials who are familiar with "ongoing discussions between local, state and federal officials." The report also originally said Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown in August and sparked months of unrest and protest, would be fired.

MSNBC echoed CNN's report that Jackson's resignation will be announced as early as next week, citing anonymous local and federal officials "briefed on plans still being worked out by city and state leaders."

An anonymous source tells MSNBC both Jackson and Wilson will both be "eased out" of the Ferguson Police Department before a "full-scale takeover" by St. Louis County police.

The family of Michael Brown has asked for Jackson to be fired, especially after he unexpectedly released surveillance footage of Brown apparently stealing cigars from a convenience store minutes before his death. The NAACP asked the U.S. Department of Justice, which is conducting its own investigation into Brown's death, to scrutinize Jackson's actions, especially the release of the tape.

See also: Why Ferguson City Officials Still Haven't Met with the Family of Michael Brown

CNN says the announcement could come as soon as next week. Fox 2 Now, referencing the CNN report, reports the changes may not be announced for weeks.

But if that's true, St. Louis officials are keeping tight-lipped in public comments: So who is telling the truth: anonymous sources quoted by CNN and MSNBC, or Ferguson and St. Louis County elected officials? At this point, we don't trust anyone.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].