The difference in tactics and tone was apparent almost immediately here. On Thursday night, the armored vehicles and police cars were gone, and the atmosphere was celebratory. A street barricaded on previous nights was filled with slow-moving cars blasting their horns. There were few signs of police officers, let alone a forceful response.
Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, the highway patrol official appointed by the governor to take over the response, immediately signaled a change in approach. Captain Johnson told reporters he had ordered troopers to remove their tear-gas masks, and in the early evening he accompanied several groups of protesters through the streets, clasping hands, listening to stories and marching alongside them.
“We’re just starting today anew. We’re starting a new partnership today,” said Captain Johnson, who is African-American and grew up in the area. “We’re going to move forward today, to put yesterday and the day before behind us.”
Let’s hope there is no more police violence against the people of Ferguson.
Let’s hope Darren Wilson is tried for murdering Mike Brown and not slipped out the backdoor in a storm of paperwork and false apologies the way other murderers with police badges too often are.