15 Aug Captain Ronald Johnson Brings Relief and Calm to Ferguson
Over the past few days, the world watched as the city of Ferguson, MO fell into unrest in an environment described as a “war zone” following the shooting death of an unarmed teenager Michael Brown. But the dark days of police antagonizing largely peaceful protesters is over.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon took control from the city of Ferguson and gave it to Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson, a Ferguson native and 27-year veteran.
While speaking with reporters, Johnson said,
We are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we’re in this together. I understand the anger and fear that the citizens of Ferguson are feeling, and our officers will respect both of those.
As soon as the power shift took place, the military-style presence was gone; no more SWAT trucks, snipers, or heavy riot gear. Captain Johnson and other officers even walked among the protesters.
Johnson expressed that streets would not be blocked and the rights of residents to assemble and protest would not be infringed on.
The protests took on a much lighter tone during the night and remained so during the night, with no tear gas or rubber bullets or fear.
Some protesters spoke with and interacted with Capt. Johnson and other officers on the scene, further sharpening the contrast between Thursday and the previous four days.
The move also came as a relief to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “you couldn’t have a better partner for the region” and praised Johnson as “smart” and “professional”.
In another move that is sure to further ease the tension, the name of the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown will be released, according to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
The name of the officer responsible for the shooting death of Michael Brown is Darren Wilson.