Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson Speaks Gracefully on Anger in Ferguson

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 15 2014 1:09 PM

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson Speaks Gracefully on Anger in Ferguson

453627478
Capt. Ron Johnson on Thursday night.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ron Johnson is the Missouri Highway Patrol captain who took over patrol in Ferguson Thursday night; Johnson, a Ferguson native, spoke and walked with protesters and supervised a force that presented itself much less aggressively than the quasi-military SWAT teams that had confronted residents on previous days. The result, by all accounts, was a significantly less tense evening. "There were not any calls for service, we did not deploy any tear gas, we did not make any arrests," Johnson said when he met minutes ago with members of the media and local citizens.

He seemed to have been taken by surprise by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson's release this morning of an incident report that alleges slain teen Michael Brown stole a box of cigars from a convenience store and assaulted the store's clerk on Saturday. "Today I will meet with the chief of Ferguson and talk about what was released and try to get a copy," he said, emphasizing several times that he will be returning to the protest site today to meet with residents. "This afternoon I will be walking back down to the QuikTrip, and I will talk to the people there and explain what I see in the packet and some of the questions that may have been unclear in the presentation this morning, I will try to make those clear."

Advertisement

He also spoke more broadly about the response to Brown's death: "This inner anger ... we have to make sure that we don't burn down our own house, that we don't go down there and vandalize our own buildings. We can stand on the sidewalk and we can talk about our issues and we can talk about what we want and what we need and a conversation that needs to happen and we can make that happen. But what I don't want is us to go down and burn down our own neighborhood. That doesn't prove a point. That does not solve the issue. That hurts this community, and that's what I don't want."

One questioner asked him a broad question about race relations and justice. "The governor talked about old wounds," Johnson said. "This is an old wound. It's time to stop saying it's an old wound, and close it for good." Later he spoke about the future of the community: "Yesterday we saw what it could be. We saw what it should be. And we saw what it will be."

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.