The law enforcement official overseeing security in Ferguson said Friday he was not notified before the Ferguson Police Department announced that Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery the day he was killed.
“I would have liked to have been consulted,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said at a news conference Friday morning.
Michael Brown was shot and killed on Saturday by Darren Wilson, an officer with the Ferguson police. On Friday morning, Thomas Jackson, the Ferguson police chief, said that the teenager was a suspect in a convenience store robbery that occurred shortly before the unarmed 18-year-old was killed.
Johnson said he would be meeting with Jackson later on Friday “to talk about how that was released,” acknowledging that he felt the information’s release was not flawless.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) also spoke about the release of the information, noting that these “pieces of information” are not the complete picture.
“I think the focal point here remains to figure out how and why Michael Brown was killed and to get justice,” he said.
Nixon also cautioned that there is still much to be done in the course of the dual investigations being carried out. Local law enforcement and the FBI are conducting separate investigations.
“Nothing should deter figuring out how and why Michael Brown was killed,” Nixon said. “There are a lot of steps between now and when justice is served.”
Nixon and Johnson spoke at a news conference discussing the different scene in Ferguson on Thursday night. Nixon on Thursday said he was putting Johnson and the highway patrol in charge of security in Ferguson, taking over command from the local law enforcement.
Following this change, the shift on the ground in Ferguson was remarkable, with calm gatherings replacing the tense standoffs that had been occurring each night between residents and a heavily-armed police force.
“Yesterday we handled it just right,” Johnson said Friday. “We shook hands, we hugged…what happened last night is what’s going to happen here forward.”
Johnson said that police did not deploy tear gas, put up roadblocks or make a single arrest.
“It was a good night,” he said. “People were talking, people were inspiring each other, people were getting their voices out.”
Still, after the Ferguson police said that Brown was the suspect in a robbery, concerns emerged about new tension forming in Ferguson and whether this would spark a new, different round of protests.
“This inner anger, we have to make sure that we don’t burn down our own house,” Johnson said.