POLITICS

It Turns Out Policing Is Better Than Occupying

FERGUSON, Mo. -– There was a stark change Thursday from a day earlier in this St. Louis suburb, with police officers from the city of St. Louis mingling with people protesting the weekend shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. The scene was in sharp contrast to Wednesday, when officers in riot gear led by St. Louis County police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

On Thursday, officers allowed a crowd to peacefully assemble without forcing them from the area. Officers mingled with protesters, who gathered to march, wave signs and chant. There were no signs of violence.

"This is what we do," St. Louis Detective Kevin Bentley told The Huffington Post Thursday, contrasting his team's calm with the heightened tension earlier in the week. "The officers out here don't do that ... You can't be thin-skinned."

St. Louis Major Ronnie Robinson told The Huffington Post that his team aimed to "bring peace and tranquility to this community."

"Intervention works," Robinson said. "You just can't have a heavy hand all the time. You have to be professional enough to be able to identify when you need to meet force with force. ... You've got to be able to communicate."

Watch the interview above.

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