Ferguson Riots: State Highway Patrol Taking Over Security

Ferguson security supervision will now be handled by the Missouri State Highway Patrol by order of Governor Jay Nixon. During a Thursday afternoon press conference, the Missouri Governor called once again for calm and said both the local investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown and the Civil Rights investigation by the Justice Department remain ongoing. Captain Ron Johnson will now be in charge of security in Ferguson.

Johnson is black and grew up in the town. "It means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence," The Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain stated during the press conference. Johnson is going to walk to the Michael Brown shooting site tonight and speak with residents.

The Ferguson protests and rioting continues, but law enforcement officials are hopeful that tonight will be far quitter than the previous evenings. Tensions increased in the St. Louis area after news that two journalists inside a local McDonald's were arrested while filming during a vacate order by police officers. U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) called on President Obama to declare martial law and federalize the National Guard and send troops into Ferguson.

President Barack Obama also addressed the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, during a press conference also held today. While some have commended the president for speaking out about the death of Brown in Ferguson, others have chastised him for quickly making a statement about the shooting of the teen but failing to ever mention U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who had been sitting in a Mexican jail for several months.

Governor Nixon and the president spoke about the five-days riots prior to the Missouri leader's press conference.

President Barack Obama had this to say about the Michael Brown shooting:

"I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson, and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. But let's remember that we're all part of one American family. We are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests."

While speaking to a group of Ferguson clergy and community members earlier on Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon said the public will soon see a "different tone" in the law enforcement response. St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman defended the use of smoke bombs and tear gas during the Ferguson riots on Wednesday evening.

According to Schellman, officers tossed tear gas into a large crowd of protesters after some of the individuals in the group threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at the law enforcement officers. More than 10 Ferguson protesters were arrested last night. "In talking to these guys, it is scary. They hear gunshots gong off and they don't know where they're coming from," Schellman added.

When asked what he thought about the negative comments about the Ferguson police department from residents, Governor Nixon said, "The Bill of Rights gives the people the right to speak truth to power and we will work to live out those rights."

What do you think about the Ferguson riots and the police response when attempting to keep the peace after the Michael Brown shooting?

[Image Via: Twitter]