Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said he regrets saying "there's not a racial divide in Ferguson" back in August.
"I mean, I regret saying it because it's an argument that's difficult to have," Knowles told Al Jazeera America. "Because yes, there are racial divides in this country. There are divides between men and women. And I was defensive. I took the stand that I felt somebody was attacking what I knew to be a good community who embraced diversity, who loved our neighbors … I'm obviously very, very much regretting having said that, but I think people, again, need to recognize that those divides, those differences [doesn't] mean this community didn't have good race relations before this happened."
Knowles tried to clarify his initial comments, saying he doesn't see a racial divide regularly "play out in Ferguson."
"We do not see white residents and African-American residents looking at each other with a cautious eye or scared of each other on a daily basis," Knowles said.
Ferguson and other Missouri towns are gearing up for potential protests after a grand jury decides whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Brown's death sparked a wave of protests that included confrontations between police and protesters involving tear gas deployed by law enforcement officials and shots fired.
Read more of Al Jazeera America's interview with Knowles here.