Ferguson’s police chief leaving to tend to ailing mother

October 10, 2018 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Delrish Moss, who took over as police chief in Ferguson as the town still grappled with the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, is leaving at the end of this month.

Mayor James Knowles III said Wednesday that Moss will return to Florida to care for his ailing mother. Deputy Chief Frank McCall will lead the department in the St. Louis suburb until a permanent replacement is named.

Text and phone messages seeking comment from Moss and Knowles were not returned.

Moss, a black former homicide detective in Miami, became Ferguson’s chief in May 2016. He spent much of his tenure helping to implement reforms, including some mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice over racial bias concerns uncovered after Brown’s death.

Brown, a black and unarmed 18-year-old, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. The months of unrest that followed helped spark the national Black Lives Matter movement.

A St. Louis County grand jury and the Justice Department declined to indict Wilson, who resigned in November 2014. But a Justice Department investigation found racial bias in Ferguson’s policing and a municipal court system, prompting a consent agreement calling for reforms that are still being implemented.

Moss grew up in Miami’s inner-city Overtown neighborhood. He told The Associated Press when he was hired that he was mistreated by two police officers when he was about 14. He said he was walking home when one of the officers pushed him against a wall, frisked him and searched him for no apparent reason.

Moss said the encounter left him “scared and embarrassed,” but was among the factors that led him to police work, where he could try to change such behavior.

He joined Miami police in 1984, steadily rising through the ranks. He worked for a time in the homicide unit before taking over media and community relations in the late 1990s.

Ferguson’s police chief at the time of Brown’s death, Tom Jackson, who is white, resigned in March 2015 after the scathing Justice Department report. Andre Anderson, a black veteran of the police department in Glendale, Arizona, took over as six-month interim chief in Ferguson in July 2015, and was expected to be a candidate for the permanent job. But he resigned early, leaving Dec. 2, 2015. He cited a desire to return to his family in Arizona.

Moss beat out 53 other candidates for the job.