Missouri Highway Patrol To Oversee Crowd Control In Ferguson
By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 14, 2014 9:30PM
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks about the unrest in the town of Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown to residents and faith and community leaders during a forum held at Christ the King UCC Church on August 14, 2014 in Florissant, Missouri. Brown was shot an killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri Highway Patrol to take over security and crowd control in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, which has been rocked by four days of violent action by police against demonstrators protesting the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Nixon said the police actions that have rocked Ferguson this week “is not what Missouri is about, it is not what Ferguson is about.” Nixon named Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, as the overall leader of the renewed security effort. It was a shrewd political move by Nixon; Johnson, an African-American, grew up in the Ferguson area.
Johnson released a brief statement promising every resident and demonstrator would be treated with respect. Local police will fall under the command of the Highway Patrol. Nixon spent the day speaking with community leaders and residents in an attempt to assure them the response by police to the protests would not be so belligerent moving forward.
“Ferguson will not be defined as a community that was torn apart by violence but will be known as a community that pulled together to overcome it,” Nixon said, adding, the town looked “more like a war zone, and that is unacceptable."
Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement saying Ferguson police accepted an offer of assistance "to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force." Holder said in the same statement the deployment of paramilitary equipment and armored police officers sent a conflicting message.