Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, right, walks away from a media availability regarding his office’s handling of the release of information following the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 15. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The mayor of St. Louis suburb on Thursday said he has “not had an opportunity” to apologize to the family of a black teenager whose body was left in the street for hours after he was fatally shot by a police officer earlier this month.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said that Michael Brown’s body lay exposed on Canfield Drive after the Aug. 9 shooting because authorities wanted to avoid the appearance of an improper cover-up or investigation.

“It was a crime scene that had to be investigated by a third party,” he said, explaining the hours-long delay in removing the 18-year-old’s body.

Knowles spoke at a St. Louis Public Radio forum in a Ferguson church that was attended by residents from across the area, many of whom told him they felt disrespected by authorities, and disapproved of law enforcement tactics in the days that followed the shooting.

Brown’s death sparked protests in the St. Louis region, and police responded to the demonstrations with tear gas and military-grade equipment. Funeral services for Brown were held earlier this week.

Knowles said that the police department has received a batch of body cameras for officers, which will be used in patrols going forward. A Ferguson officer who said he was watching the church’s parking lot to make sure cars weren’t being broken into was wearing a camera Thursday night.