Governor announces Missouri Highway Patrol to provide security in Ferguson

BY newsdesk and Associated Press  August 14, 2014 at 4:22 PM EST

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon promised there would be a change in tactics used to control crowds gathered to protest in Ferguson, Missouri during remarks earlier on Thursday. During a 4 p.m. press conference, the governor announced that the Missouri State Highway Patrol would takeover security operations in Ferguson.

Earlier, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that he was concerned about the police use of military-style equipment and that the activity is sending a “conflicting message.”

Holder said in a statement Thursday that Ferguson law enforcement authorities have accepted the Justice Department’s offer of crowd-control help as it continues to investigate a police officer’s shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

He said the response by law enforcement to protests there “must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them.”

The attorney general said representatives from the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which works to mediate race disputes, have also been sent to Missouri.

The FBI and Justice Department are conducting a civil-rights investigation into Saturday’s shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Holder said eyewitnesses have already been interviewed.