The police chief in Ferguson, Missouri, denied reports late Tuesday that he would step down – although he left the door open for his departure.
CNN reported Chief Thomas Jackson would resign his post, citing unnamed government officials involved in ongoing discussions between local, state, and federal officials.
Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the report was “absolutely not true,” saying he has not been fired or asked to resign.
However, he said, “if I do resign, it will be my own choice.”
Jackson has faced strong criticism for his response to the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson and the protests that erupted in the St. Louis suburb.
A grand jury is considering whether to charge Wilson in the case, and an announcement is expected sometime next month.
CNN reported that Jackson’s rumored removal suggests the grand jury may not indict the officer.
Law enforcement and local officials are bracing for possible unrest if Wilson is not charged.
Ferguson’s mayor, James Knowles III, confirmed the chief had not resigned and said no state or federal officials had asked the city to consider disbanding its police department.
The assistant St. Louis County police chief also said he was unaware of formal discussions about the county taking over police duties in the city.
However, Assistant Chief Kenneth Cox pointed out that those changes could “come together quickly.”
The U.S. Department of Justice is examining the Ferguson Police Department’s use of force and other practices, including its treatment of inmates at the city jail.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that federal authorities were examining the interaction between police officials and the community.
Watch this video report posted online by CNN: