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Gov. Nixon: Highway Patrol Will Direct Security in Ferguson

CNN -- The Missouri Highway Patrol "will be directing the team that provides security" in Ferguson, Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday.
FERGUSON, Mo. -- The Missouri Highway Patrol "will be directing the team that provides security" in Ferguson, Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday.

Nixon said he decided to put the state's highway patrol in charge of security because "at this particular point, the attitudes weren't improving, and the blocks towards expression appeared to be a flashpoint, and that if we put some people first, that we'd be in a better situation."

Lately the community of Ferguson has looked "more like a war zone, and it's not acceptable," Nixon said.

"We're all about making sure that we allow peaceful and appropriate protests, that we use force only when necessary, that we step back a little bit and let some of the energy be felt in this region, appropriately," Nixon said, describing the new approach for handling security.

The shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson and protests over the case have resonated beyond that city, Nixon said.

"These are deep and existing problems not only in Missouri but in America, and this has clearly touched a nerve," he said.

Authorities will be taking a "different approach" to handling protests in Ferguson, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said.

Tapped by the state's governor to head up security in the city, Johnson said he planned to meet with protesters Thursday.
"We are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we're in this together," he said.

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