Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon pulled the Ferguson police department from leading the response to violent protests rocking the small town, which he noted now looks “a little bit like a war zone.”
The governor convened a press conference on Thursday to discuss the crisis, which began after a Ferguson police officer shot an unarmed black teenager last weekend and spiraled out of control as protesters and rioters clashed with heavily-militarized police forces on Wednesday.
“What’s gone on is not what Missouri’s about,” Nixon said at the conference, broadcast by CNN. “It’s not what Ferguson is about. This is a place where people work, go to school, raise their families and go to church. A diverse community. A Missouri community.”
“But lately it’s looked a little bit more like a war zone,” the governor admitted. “That’s unacceptable.”
“To change that course, we’re going to all need to join hands to rebuild the trust that’s been lost and mend what’s broken, and help the community regain its confidence and its stability,” Nixon said. “Literally, the eyes of the nation and of the world are on us.”
“In order for that important process of healing and reconciliation to begin, we need to address some very immediate challenges,” he asserted. “That’s why today I’m announcing that the Missouri Highway Patrol, under the supervision of Captain Ron Johnson — who grew up in this area — will be directing the team that provides security in Ferguson.”