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Tyndale House Publishers

Highway Patrol Captain Writes New Ferguson Memoir

August 21, 2018 - 9:52 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The former Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain who ran the law enforcement response in Ferguson is out with a new memoir.

Capt. Ron Johnson wrote "13 Days in Ferguson," in which he admits he didn't know he was going to be the point-person during the Ferguson riots until 15 minutes before the news conference where it was announced.

Despite that, Johnson took the role seriously, and said he soon learned he was the right man for the job.

"I think after it settled in I started to say, ‘I am you.' And 'I am you' means I’m part of the community, I’m a policeman, I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m all those things, so then I did feel comfortable walking those streets and meeting people and talking to people I didn’t know and people I did know,” he said.

Johnson said he had one thought when he saw the QuikTrip burning on West Florissant.

“I thought, 'Oh my God, how are we going to survive this?' It wasn’t about how many days it would take, it was, how will we survive this?”

He told KMOX's Mark Reardon about a time when he and his daughter were at a restaurant following the unrest, and noticed a group of camo-clad men staring at and talking about him.

Johnson feared the worst, but then his server pointed them out as the group of people who paid for his meal.

“In the book I talk about implicit bias - we all have those, and I had looked at those young men and said there’s no way they would value me. And I went over to talk to them and I said, 'Thank you, but why’d you pay for my meal?' And they said, 'This is our community, and we wanted to say thank you,'” he said.