The Highway Patrol captain appointed to oversee security in Ferguson, Missouri, suggested Friday that the city's police chief should have been more open in a news conference that lawyers for the family of slain teenager Michael Brown characterized as "character assassination."
"I will be talking to the chief," Capt. Ron Johnson, whom Missouri's governor put in charge in Ferguson on Thursday, told reporters Friday. His remarks came after Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released security video and photos that he said showed Brown robbing a convenience store shortly before he was shot. But Jackson also said the officer who shot the teen didn't know Brown was a suspect when he stopped the young man for walking in the street.
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Johnson said he'd "wished that I'd have a kind of been involved in that and had some conversations," adding: "I'm going to talk to the chief later about inclusion in some of these press conferences. We probably could have said some things differently at that press conference and maybe given out some information in a different way."
In remarks that were recorded by NBC station KSDK of St. Louis, Johnson stressed that the incident at the convenience store Saturday and the shooting of Brown a few minutes later were separate. "I'm not going to say that one justifies the other, and I think if we're going to give answers, we don't need to be giving hints. We need to say it," he said. As for his assessment of Jackson, Johnson said: "All I can talk about is what Ron Johnson does, and that started yesterday."
— M. Alex Johnson