A change in police tactics led to peaceful, non-violent protests on Thursday after 4 nights of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
The residents of Ferguson were protesting the police shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown at the Canfield Green apartments on Saturday. Residents complained that the overzealous police stripped them of their constitutional rights to express themselves peacefully.
As a result of the lawless tactics of the Ferguson and St. Louis County PDs, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon removed the riot police from the streets and named Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson as leader of security operations in Ferguson. Johnson was raised in Ferguson and he still lives in the area. His calm approach and willingness to talk to the protestors made all the difference in Ferguson last night.
Protestors were also encouraged by the news that the officer who killed Brown would finally be named on Friday.
From the NY Daily News:
“It means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence,” Johnson, who is black and a native of Ferguson, said at a press conference Thursday as it was announced the highway patrol would take over security operations in the besieged city of some 20,000 people outside St. Louis.
By 5:30 p.m. local time, Johnson was backing up his claim. He walked surrounded by protesters yelling, "Hands up! Don’t shoot!" as they walked to the spot where 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a Ferguson police officer Saturday afternoon.
"I've assigned all police assigned to this detail to take their gas masks off," Johnson told reporters at the march, tweeted Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post reporter arrested Wednesday covering the turmoil. "I'm not afraid to be in this crowd today, that's why I walk up front (in the march). Hopefully, (there will) be some healing."
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