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St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office hires man once tasked with handling Ferguson protests

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A former Missouri State Highway Patrol captain who led the policing effort during Ferguson protests is joining the St. Louis prosecutor's office.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner introduced Ron Johnson Wednesday as law enforcement liaison, a contracted position that will pay $50,000 for one year. Gardner says Johnson will work toward better "communication and collaboration" with city police, the FBI and other agencies.

Ferguson erupted in protests in 2014 after Michael Brown, a black and unarmed 18-year-old, was killed by a white police officer. The initial police response to protests was criticized as heavy-handed, prompting then-Gov. Jay Nixon to put Johnson, who is black, in charge.

Johnson retired from the patrol in 2018.

Gardner has often been at odds with city police, especially over her "exclusion list" banning dozens of officers from presenting cases over credibility concerns.

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