Michael Brown's stepfather apologizes for comments

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Michael Brown's Stepdad Investigated For 'Burn This B*Tch Down' Comments


FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- The stepfather of Michael Brown has apologized for angry comments he made after the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who killed his stepson, but said his remarks had nothing to do with the arson and looting that ravaged Ferguson and the surrounding area.

Louis Head said Wednesday in a statement to CNN that he was full of emotion on the night of Nov. 24, when he yelled "Burn this bitch down!" in a crowd of protesters.

St. Louis County police said Tuesday they are investigating Head's comments as part of a broader inquiry into the arson, vandalism and looting. Twelve commercial buildings were destroyed in the hours after the grand jury decision.

Head does not have a listed phone number, and there was no answer when an Associated Press reporter knocked at his listed address Wednesday. Attorneys for Brown's family did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Wilson, who is white, told the grand jury he fired because his life was in danger, but some witnesses said Brown, who was black and unarmed, was trying to surrender.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, was on top of a car on a Ferguson street in front of the police station, surrounded by protesters, when she heard the grand jury announcement. She began sobbing. Her husband jumped on top of the car and hugged her, then yelled out.

The street was already noisy and grew louder as Head hugged his wife. He yelled without a microphone or any amplification. Some people who were close by couldn't hear what he said.

Still, video of the comments immediately spread on Twitter, YouTube and other social media.

Head, in a statement to CNN, said, "I was so angry and full of raw emotions, as so many others were, and granted, I screamed out words that I shouldn't have screamed in the heat of the moment.

"It was wrong, and I humbly apologize to all of those who read my pain and anger as a true desire for what I want for our community."

But Head said to it's unfair to place blame solely on him for the violence that transpired.

"In the end, I've lived in this community for a long time," he said in the statement, according to CNN. "The last thing I truly wanted was to see it go up in flames. In spite of my frustration, it really hurt to see that."

Remy Cross, a criminologist at Webster University in suburban St. Louis, said he would be surprised if Head is criminally charged, especially considering the emotional distress he was under at the time.

And Cross wondered why police would want to stir up emotions again, especially now that protests have died down to the point that police and the National Guard have scaled back their patrols. There have been no nighttime arrests at Ferguson protests since Friday.

"Given that this is such a raw situation already and given that there is already a sense of injustice at the hands of the legal system, this could be construed as provocation," Cross said.

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Michael Brown's stepfather apologizes for comments
Michael Brown's mother Leslie McSpadden (L) and other protesters react after hearing the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of her son in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 24, 2014. Violent protests and looting erupted in the US town of Ferguson after a grand jury chose not to press charges against a white officer who shot dead the black teen. US President Barack Obama and the family of late 18-year-old Michael Brown separately appealed for calm after a prosecutor said a grand jury had found the policeman acted in self-defense. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Brown's mother Leslie McSpadden (L) and other protesters react after hearing the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of her son in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 24, 2014. Violent protests and looting erupted in the US town of Ferguson after a grand jury chose not to press charges against a white officer who shot dead the black teen. US President Barack Obama and the family of late 18-year-old Michael Brown separately appealed for calm after a prosecutor said a grand jury had found the policeman acted in self-defense. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, left standing on the top of a car, reacts as she listens to the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, wearing sunglasses, reacts as she listens to the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, left standing on the top of a car, reacts as she listens to the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: Michael Browns mother Lesley McSpadden is greeted by her husband Louis Head after arriving at St. Louis International Airport from Geneva, Switzerland where she addressed a United Nation's committee on torture on November 14, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The shooting death of McSpadden's 18-year-old son Michael by a Ferguson police officer sparked protests and riots. The city is hoping to avoid a repeat of those riots if the grand jury investigating the shooting does not find justification to prosecute Wilson. The grand jurys decision is expected sometime in November. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: Michael Browns mother Lesley McSpadden is greeted by her husband Louis Head after arriving at St. Louis International Airport from Geneva, Switzerland where she addressed a United Nation's committee on torture on November 14, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The shooting death of McSpadden's 18-year-old son Michael by a Ferguson police officer sparked protests and riots. The city is hoping to avoid a repeat of those riots if the grand jury investigating the shooting does not find justification to prosecute Wilson. The grand jurys decision is expected sometime in November. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 14: Michael Browns mother Lesley McSpadden is greeted by her husband Louis Head after arriving at St. Louis International Airport from Geneva, Switzerland where she addressed a United Nation's committee on torture on November 14, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The shooting death of McSpadden's 18-year-old son Michael by a Ferguson police officer sparked protests and riots. The city is hoping to avoid a repeat of those riots if the grand jury investigating the shooting does not find justification to prosecute Wilson. The grand jurys decision is expected sometime in November. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 25: Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown is comforted by her husband Louis Head as she approaches the casket of her son at the beginning of Brown's funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on August 25, 2014 in St. Louis Missouri. Michael Brown, an 18 year-old unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the nearby town of Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. His death caused several days of violent protests along with rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Robert Cohen-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Rev. Al Sharpton (L) raises his hands while flanked by Lesley McSpadden (C) and Michael Brown Sr.(R), parents of Michael Brown who was killed by police in Ferguson, MO., during a news conference at the National Press Club, September 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. Rev. Sharpton called for federal review of racial violence and discrimination in the law enforcement community. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 20: Vince Staples, Jay Electronica, Michael Brown Sr, LesLey McSpadden and Common onstage at the BET Hip Hop awards at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on September 20, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)
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