Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quiet night in Ferguson

A change of police command, and a change in tactics, seems to have made a difference.

The New York Times notes:
On Thursday night, the armored vehicles and flashing police cars were gone, and the atmosphere was celebratory. A street barricaded on previous nights was filled with slow-moving cars blasting their horns. A man played a drum across the street from a convenience store that was looted this week. And there were few signs of police officers, let alone a forceful response. 
Kimaly Diouf, co-owner of Rehoboth Pharmacy, said the reason for the difference was simple: “Because they’re not tear gassing us tonight.”
Today's move by Gov. Nixon to put state troopers in charge of Ferguson's police response was probably well timed. After four nights of violence, the locals were likely already close to played-out. Dropping the antagonism of MRAPs and riot cops in the streets now lets tensions drop even more.

Hindsight being 20-20, putting an overly militarized presence (or even the perception of one) on the streets the past few nights was likely counter productive. Having a state police agency not involved with last weekend's Michael Brown shooting temporarily placed in charge of peacekeeping in the hot spot neighborhood also makes sense, and probably should have been done sooner.

Let's hope the calmer trend continues.

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