Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson on Saturday. That fact is not in dispute. Nor is the need for a full, fair, and transparent investigation. Nor is the need for justice to be served or people to be heard.
Some of the events of the past few days – and, especially, nights - have threatened to obscure those facts.
As the mayor of the County’s largest neighbor and as a parent myself, that makes me sad and angry.
Governor Nixon asked me to stand with him and County Executive Dooley to demonstrate our common agreement on this situation: Justice must happen. The grieving must be comforted. The angry must be heard. The innocent must be protected.
I concur with the direction the governor has set. I have offered him the experience of two senior police commanders: Chief Sam Dotson and Major Ronnie Robinson. They are available to advise the new commander in Ferguson.
Sam and Ronnie will bring a wealth of useful, practical knowledge to the command. St. Louis City has had plenty of experience protecting people from violence in large crowds, including demonstrations and protests.
They will help protect people and their right to assemble peaceably; and protect their right to talk about it and to report it.
We will not be bringing our tactical gear to Ferguson. We will be bringing sympathy, patience, and an understanding of when to let things proceed and when not to.
I want to conclude with a brief word for the officers of the many police departments who have been on the streets in Ferguson over the past several days: thank you for your service, for honoring your oath, and for respecting your badge. I hope that the decisions made by the governor will make your mission clear. And safer. And shorter.