One of the smartest things Gov. Jay Nixon did to quell the violence in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal police shooting Saturday of an unarmed black teen was to put Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson over security in the St. Louis suburb.
Johnson is an African-American whose presence and instruction to reduce the heavy armor of police has brought calm to the community. Peaceful protests had turned violent with some burning and looting after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Johnson, who had worked out of Troop A in Lee’s Summit from 1999 to 2002, joined peaceful demonstrations Thursday. That was a smart move, and it should have occurred days earlier.
African-Americans, who have been outraged since Brown’s death, need to see that law enforcement truly wants justice in the shooting just as much as they do instead of trying to form what appears to be a hard defense against their interests as concerned citizens.