FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – 24 hours after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security in Ferguson, questions remain. In fact the governor warned Friday this journey could still be bumpy.
Rush hour proved peaceful in the heart of Ferguson. Protestors stood across the street from the police department chanting and holding signs but not impeding traffic.
Gov. Nixon, Highway Patrol Commander Ron Replogle and Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson answered questions from the news media including national networks and some community members Johnson invited Friday morning. Capt. Johnson is the on-scene commander providing security for residents in Ferguson as well as protestors. He said he wanted community members to ask questions as well because the situation is about where they live.
No tear gas was sprayed Thursday night and no police appeared wearing riot gear. Both Gov. Nixon and Capt. Johnson described the night as peaceful where protestors were able to voice their concerns without blocking traffic. No protestors were arrested.
But critics including the St. Louis County Police Officers Association told News11 the night was not entirely violence free. The association issued a release saying one county officer, who was not allowed to don his riot gear, was struck by a brick and injured while on duty in the protest area, a citizen was shot and a photographer was beaten up.
Gov. Nixon said he was glad the Ferguson police department released the name of the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. He continued to call for peaceful action from residents.
“Nothing should deter figuring out how and why Michael Brown was killed,” Nixon said. Community members told the Governor they were angry that police released a convenience store surveillance video Friday and identified Michael Brown as the individual stealing cigars and shoving a store clerk who tried to stop him from walking out of the store.
But Captain Johnson did not know about the early morning release of the convenience store video which Ferguson police say shows Michael Brown committing a robbery before he was shot. The video release has angered the community. Some say it appears police were trying to justify the shooting.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said he released the surveillance video because media outlets ( including News11) had requested it under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
Some local leaders including St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley have asked that a special prosecutor take over the shooting investigation from St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster issued a statement saying “state law provides no authority for the Attorney General or the Governor to remove or transfer a criminal case from an elected county prosecutor.” Koster noted if a county prosecutor has a conflict of interest, the court with “jurisdiction over the case may appoint a different attorney as a special prosecutor.”