FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson held a press conference Wednesday morning to address the unrest in Ferguson.
Johnson’s press conference follows a night where five people were arrested, two officers were injured, a small fire was set outside of a business and a beauty store was looted for a third time in Ferguson.
Johnson talked about how Gov. Nixon told him to protect the freedom of speech and public safety in Ferguson. Johnson said officers will respond anyway they have to, including wearing riot gear, to achieve that goal.
Johnson also said he will do everything he can to protect officers and make sure they come home to loved ones at night. He said the officers have been committed to the community since day one and will continue to be until the end.
Starting Wednesday, Johnson asked all clergy coalition and other groups to make a public stand for peace. Saying nights like Tuesday will not be tolerated, he added anyone wanting to disrupt the peace will be pulled out of the crowd.
St. Louis Police Chef Sam Dotson, Ferguson Police Chief Jon Belmar and Johnson have a unified command, Johnson said. He said all three of them responded Tuesday night and their varying experiences help with the response when they pull together as a team. The team is not afraid to admit mistakes and will strive to do better when one is seen, he said.
Johnson also addressed the Michael Brown memorial that caught fire Tuesday morning along with the rumors about how the fire was started. He said some protestors have said police started the fire, but he does not believe that to be true. He said he has seen video which shows neighbors could have put the flames out, but instead they watched for 11 minutes as it burned.
During his conference, Johnson said an anonymous donor wants to start a foundation with $100,000, Emerson electric has donated $4 million to help Ferguson and an anonymous donor has reduced electric bills in the Canfield apartments. Johnson continued by stating the QuikTrip is planning to rebuild in the area and WalMart will say in Ferguson.
Johnson said residents should be able to have pride in the community and live where kids are safe and wives can buy produce. He continued by saying the people of Canfield want their freedom and security back.