Huffpost Black Voices

Ferguson Was A Ticking Time Bomb. This Man Defused It.

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The time bomb that was Ferguson, Missouri, was defused Thursday thanks to the presence and leadership of Capt. Ron Johnson of the State Highway Patrol.

On Thursday, amid unrest over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon announced the St. Louis County Police Department would be relieved from duty. Control was turned over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol with Johnson at the helm. The move came after the department's extreme tactics made headlines across the nation, with reports detailing unjust arrests as well as demonstrators being injured by rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray.

When Johnson took over, the mood in Ferguson changed.

He told troopers to remove their gas masks. Then he marched alongside protestors, holding their hands and listening to their stories.

“I’m not afraid to be in this crowd,” he said while walking with the marchers gathered in the St. Louis suburb, per The Washington Post.

“When I see a young lady cry because of fear of this uniform, that’s a problem," he also said. "We’ve got to solve that.”

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Johnson, a native of the area and an African-American, is the commander of the Missouri Highway Patrol's Troop C, which is located in a large district that includes the city of Ferguson.

He told protestors Thursday evening that the issues facing the city have hit close to home for him. "I've got a son that deals with the same thing," Johnson said.

ronald johnson

ronald johnson

ronald johnson

ronald johnson

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