The Highway Patrol captain in charge of security in Ferguson, Missouri, expressed hope Tuesday that peaceful protesters would stay home and allow authorities to deal with “those who have been ruining our community.”
Capt. Ron Johnson, who grew up in the area, spoke after a chaotic night in which 78 people were arrested and two people were hit by gunfire. In an interview with MSNBC, he drew a distinction between peaceful protesters upset about the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and criminals who are taking advantage of the protests to loot stores and attack officers.
“Today my hope is the peaceful protesters will stay home and protest during the daytime and stay home at night and let us take those who have been ruining our community and take them and deal with them,” he said. He praised police for their restraint late Monday and early Tuesday. He also faulted some members of the media for glamorizing violent criminals and giving them a platform.
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