State troopers replace police as tensions rise over teen shooting
Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered state troopers to take over security from local law enforcement in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson after days of protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
President Barack Obama made a plea for calm as small groups of troopers replaced local officers the day after about 50 in military-style gear pointed guns at angry demonstrators.
Police had claimed that Michael Brown (18), inset, was shot by police officer Darren Wilson after a fight over his weapon.
Residents said Brown was shot while raising his hands in surrender.
Governor Nixon said the new policing operation would be led by Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who is black.
"We all have been concerned about the vision that the world has seen about this region," Nixon, a Democrat, said yesterday.
"We're all about making sure that we allow peaceful and appropriate protests."
Ferguson Police Department yesterday showed reporters still images taken from a security camera.
Authorities named Darren Wilson as the police officer who killed teenager Michael Brown at the weekend, saying the officer had a good record and the incident came in the aftermath of a robbery of a local store in which the teen was a suspect.
Yesterday, US Representative William Lacy Clay, a Democrat from St. Louis, urged the Attorney General Eric Holder to "take over the entire situation because we will not get justice for Michael Brown and his family and friends if the St. Louis County police and prosecutor have a say."
President Obama promised a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting.
"I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by images we've seen in the heartland of our country," Mr Obama said.
"Now's the time for healing," he said. "Now's the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now's the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done."
The FBI opened an investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown on August 11.
At 2am yesterday, a group of more than 50 police officers in protective gear drove three black armoured vehicles to the police department, where they pointed guns at the crowd and told everyone to disperse immediately or face arrest.
Protesters, who raised their hands and dropped to their knees, later departed, with some shouting expletives at the police.
Crowds gathered to hold peaceful protests over Brown's death and in support of the people of Ferguson across the Unites States yesterday.