Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is being credited as the man who helped to restore the peace in Ferguson, Missouri. After days of rioting in the town, in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, the night of August 14 saw peaceful protests throughout Ferguson. Earlier on August 14, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had ordered the St. Louis County police to stand down in troubled area. The governor then announced that the Missouri State Highway Patrol would step up under the command of Capt. Johnson.
Here’s what you need to know about Ferguson’s guardian angel:
1. He’s Playing Down the Race Issue
Johnson told the media, just hours after Darren Wilson had been named as the cop who shot Michael Brown, that “In our anger we have to make sure we don’t burn down our own house.” He added “This is not a black and white issue.”
2. Johnson Hasn’t Been Talking to Chief Jackson
Johnson stated during his media conference that he not happy or aware that Ferguson Chief Thomas Jackson had released info about an alleged strong-arm robbery that may have involved Michael Brown. On August 14, after being placed in control of the situation, Johnson told the media:
We are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we’re in this together. I understand the anger and fear that the citizens of Ferguson are feeling, and our officers will respect both of those.
3. He’s Been a Commander for 12 Years
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol website, Johnson has been a commander in Troop C of the agency since October 2002. The Washington Post reports that he is a 27-year veteran of the force.
The chief of the St. Louis police Sam Dotson told the Post-Dispatch:
I’ve worked with him for many years, even before I was chief. You couldn’t have a better partner for the region. He’s smart, he’s professional, he comes from the area.
4. He Is a Family Man
Capt. Johnson has a son and daughter. The captain mentioned them frequently during his August 15 media briefing. His father-in-law is Charles McCrary, a former deputy chief in the St. Louis Police Department, according to the Post-Dispatch.
5. Johnson Has Enemies
He’s been involved in a long-running feud with a tow trucker in Missouri named Mark Robbins. It all began when Johnson accused Robbins of illegally towing a vehicle from a crash scene that was still under investigation. From there, Robbins says that he was subject to harrssment from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, according to an article in the River Front Times.