By Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – County Executive Charlie Dooley, in what were expected to be routine remarks for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership’s annual luncheon, broke into a philosophical speech about the situation in Ferguson and his administration.

He began: “I want to apologize to this community. This happened on my watch, and I take it very seriously.”

Because people are so concerned with placing blame for the shooting and its aftermath, Dooley said he’ll accept it, but that, moving forward, everybody in the county should be involved.

“I was the County Executive these last eleven years,” he said, continuing on to add that he thinks his administration could’ve done “a better job in the training, sensitivity, diversity, and talk about things that are real in our community.”

“I’m going to take responsibility for that,” he added.

Dooley thanked Centene Corp. for committing to create jobs in Ferguson. But public schools, he remarked, are failing in majority African-American parts of the county, “and no place else.”

The event was broadcast by HEC-TV, which provided the audio to KMOX News.

Dooley gave a nod to Michael Brown’s family, saying he can’t imagine what they’re going through after their son was shot by a Ferguson police officer last month.

“No child, no mother, should feel that their child is not of value in this community. That is unacceptable,” he said.

At the start of Dooley’s speech, which came after remarks from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, dishes and glasses can be heard clanking in the background as attendees dine during the line-up of speakers. But after his first four words — “I want to apologize” — the people quiet.

At his conclusion, then , the crowd of local civic and business leaders lept to their feet:

Later, other speakers at the economic development luncheon reacted:

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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