Highway Patrol Takes Over From Police in Ferguson

Official in charge is Ferguson native, tells officers to leave behind tear-gas masks

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 14, 2014 7:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon promised police tactics would change in Ferguson, Mo., and they did this afternoon: The Missouri Highway Patrol took control, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and crowds protesting the death of Michael Brown. After a particularly violent night last night, Nixon said today that local police are no longer in charge of the area, although they would still be present. He said Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was in command.

"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," the governor said at a news conference in the nearby community of Normandy. Johnson, who is black, said he grew up in the area and "it means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence." He said he planned to keep heavily armored vehicles away from the scene and told his officers not to bring their tear gas masks. More protests were taking place tonight.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, right, has given police oversight of the Ferguson situation to the Missouri State Highway Patrol under the command of Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, center, a Ferguson native.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, right, has given police oversight of the Ferguson situation to the Missouri State Highway Patrol under the command of Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, center, a Ferguson native.   (Christian Gooden)
Demonstrators peacefully march down a street with members of the St. Louis County Police and Missouri Highway Patrol Thursday.
Demonstrators peacefully march down a street with members of the St. Louis County Police and Missouri Highway Patrol Thursday.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The Rev. Traci Blackmon uses a megaphone to talk to a group of demonstrators Thursday.
The Rev. Traci Blackmon uses a megaphone to talk to a group of demonstrators Thursday.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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