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Missouri lawman who helped calm Ferguson protests promoted

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Resident thanks Capt. Ron Johnson

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The Missouri State Highway Patrol captain who took control of protest security in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown will lead the agency’s new Office of Community Engagement and Outreach.

The patrol said Thursday that Ron Johnson will be director when the new office opens June 1 in St. Louis. It will be responsible for outreach efforts seeking solutions to social issues.

Brown was 18, black and unarmed, when he was killed by a white Ferguson police officer in 2014, leading to often violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

The initial police response to protests drew criticism for military-style tactics. Johnson, who is black and grew up near Ferguson, was credited with reaching out to protesters and toning down the police response.