Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (R) apologized on Thursday after CNN host Chris Cuomo called him out for repeatedly referring to slain teen Michael Brown’s body as an “it.”
In an interview on CNN, Knowles told Cuomo that he immediately began supporting counter-demonstrations as soon as protests broke out in Ferguson over the way that a white police officer gunned down Brown while he was unarmed.
“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 wondered if the police should have handle things better, like leaving Michael Brown’s body on the street for an extended period of time.
Knowles said that he wished the city could have handled things differently, but it was required to do certain things because of the investigation.
“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,” the mayor insisted. “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 continued. “But as soon as they got an ambulance there, they did cover it for a while. And then they put up the screens.”
“It was left out there for a while.”
“And when you say it, you mean he,” Cuomo interrupted.
“Yeah,” Knowles replied, seemingly reluctant to say Brown’s name. “I’m sorry. You’re right. The body. The gentleman.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s New Day, broadcast Aug. 21, 2014.