Early Tuesday morning local time in Ferguson, MO, Missouri Highway Patrol Cpt. Ron Johnson explained why his tone had changed in the recent days since he was named by Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) to run point on security as protest over the Michael Brown killing were underway.
Johnson explained to CNN’s Don Lemon and Jake Tapper that his focus is on ending the night-after-night violence and stepped up police presence and offered Lemon and Tapper to join him to “hang with” him.
Partial transcript as follows:
“What’s on my mind is this has to stop,” Johnson said. “It has to stop. I don’t want anybody to get hurt. I don’t want an officer to get hurt. I don’t want a citizen to get hurt. But we have to find a way to stop it. Our citizens are calling us out. My phone, I’m getting texts, people are calling. People in the streets are saying you’ve got — it’s got to stop. It’s got to stop. And we have to because these people that have been on this aren’t going to stop just by saying we’re not going to be out there. If we say we’re going to go away, that’s not going to stop it. If we all go away, they’ll be in this mall. And they are going to destroy this mall.”
“So when we talk about a military action, that’s not what that is,” Johnson continued. “But the people, the peace protesters that decided, ‘Yes, this is what we want. We want to be able to have our protests and they got that Thursday. And they went home.’ And that other group was, ‘Well, wait a minute. He’s come in and changed your mind. We can’t let him win. We can’t let that philosophy win. And now we’re going to combat that by doing what we do.’”
“And one thing I’m going to ask is that the people that come in peace that may be at 4:00 you decide I’m going to go home,” he added. “I’m going to go home. All of us that come in peace, let us go home at 4:00. And then all of these guys that are saying we’ve done nothing, we’ve been peaceful, then let’s see how they act. And I invite you, you talk about this military presence — we’re doing too much. I invite you to hang with me tomorrow.”
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