Missouri State Police Captain Ron Johnson announced that due to the Ferguson Police Department’s crude handling of yesterday’s press conference, he plans to hold a second, more inclusive one.
Daily Kos quotes Johnson saying:
“I think these are two separate issues. Two separate issues. People in our country commit crimes every day. And so, that’s a whole different thing. If there was a crime committed, that is a crime. What happened over here, those two things are separate and I don’t want to mix the two the same. I’m not going to say that one justifies the other. I think if we are going to give answers, we need not give hints, we need to say it. We probably need a little more saying it. Because right now we’ve said some things that now everyone is saying ‘what does that mean?’ We’ll be talking to the Chief…
I don’t think we should have a press conference and not have anybody, the activists, the leaders down here.”
Slate reports that Johnson hails from Ferguson himself, so he probably understands the situation better than most of us on the outside looking in.
In response to a question about justice and race relations in Ferguson, Johnson replied:
“The governor talked about old wounds. This is an old wound. It’s time to stop saying it’s an old wound, and close it for good.”
In an interview with CNN, Johnson said, “Ferguson is my community.” and talked about taking an entirely different approach towards working with neighbors towards effective policing.
Here’s the video:
The photo posted on Twitter below shows Johnson walking with protesters, instead of confronting them as though they’re automatically criminals, just for being there. The Huffington Post, which picked up the photo, reports that Johnson feels it’s very important to break the cycle of violence. He acknowledged that everyone wants justice and answers.
In reference to that march, Johnson declared:
“Yesterday we saw what it could be. We saw what it should be. And we saw what it will be.”
So far, Johnson has proven considerably more open and honest that Ferguson’s current police chief. The change on the ground since he took over yesterday is absolutely astounding. Johnson has given every indication that he will make good on his word to hold an open, inclusive press conference — and to extend that approach to future policing in the community.
h/t: Daily Kos