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Update: Missouri troopers to take over Ferguson security

August 14th, 2014 1:36 pm by Associated Press

Update: Missouri troopers to take over Ferguson security

AP10ThingsToSee - A man watches as police walk through a cloud of smoke during a clash with protesters Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

FLORISSANT, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol will take over the supervision of security in the St. Louis suburb that's been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, the governor announced Wednesday.

Gov. Jay Nixon said security will be overseen by Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol. Johnson, who is black, said he grew up in the community and "it means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence."

"Ferguson will not be defined as a community that was torn apart by violence but will be known as a community that pulled together to overcome it," Nixon said at a news conference.

Crowds have gathered in Ferguson since Saturday's shooting of Michael Brown to protest the 18-year-old's death.

Police defended the use of tear gas and smoke bombs to repel demonstrators after another night of chaos. But the police response has drawn heavy criticism.

Earlier, President Barack Obama appealed for "peace and calm" on the streets.

"I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson, and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened," Obama said. "But let's remember that we're all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests."

Obama, speaking from the Massachusetts island where he's on a two-week vacation, said there was no excuse for excessive force by police in the aftermath of the shooting. He said he had asked the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the incident.

St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers on Wednesday night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers. More than 10 people were arrested in Ferguson.

"In talking to these guys, it is scary," Schellman said of officers on the front lines of the protest. "They hear gunshots going off, and they don't know where they're coming from."

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — President Barack Obama on Thursday appealed for "peace and calm" on the streets of a St. Louis suburb besieged by violent clashes between police and crowds protesting the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

"I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened," Obama said in his first in-person remarks about the tense standoff in the Missouri suburb. "But let's remember that we're all part of one American family, we are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests."

Obama, speaking from the Massachusetts island where he's on a two-week vacation, said there was no excuse for excessive force by police in the aftermath of Saturday's shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He said he had asked the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the incident.

The president said he had also spoken Thursday morning with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who has faced criticism for not doing more to control the violence. Obama defended the Democratic governor calling him "a good man, a fine governor."

Police have defended their use of tear gas and smoke bombs to repel protesters, saying they took those actions to disperse a large crowd after some people threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers.

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