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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 25, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Seattle mayor says ‘murder of Mr. Brown’ quote was a misstatement

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (Credit: Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (Credit: Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Graffiti on First Hill in Seattle refers to Michael Brown, teenager fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. (Credit: Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he didn’t mean to refer to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., as “murder.”

During a news conference Monday, after the announcement that a Missouri grand jury wouldn’t bring criminal charges against the officer who shot Michael Brown in August, Murray used the phrase “the murder of Mr. Brown.”

Murray had opened the news conference with prepared remarks that referred to the Ferguson incident as “the tragic police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.”

But the mayor employed different wording when he was later asked to compare Seattle to Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

“So, we aren’t Ferguson. If you look at the number of police officers who are African American or people of color in our police department, it’s dramatically different. If you look at our response to May Day versus the militarization response to the murder of Mr. Brown, that’s different,” Murray said, according to a transcript provided by his office Tuesday.

The mayor’s communications director called Murray’s use of the term “murder” a mistake.

“The mayor misspoke when he characterized Michael Brown’s death as murder,” spokesman Jeff Reading said. “His message to Seattle residents after the grand jury decision in Ferguson is one of peace, compassion and reconciliation. Hopefully it’s these shared values that resonate during this time of community dialogue rather than a mistake.”

Update: Tape of Murray’s Monday news conference can be viewed online here.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Ferguson, Michael Brown, police reform

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