Gov. Nixon vows a ‘different tone’ to law enforcement response in Ferguson

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FLORISSANT, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says "operational shifts" are ahead for law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where a police officer fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Nixon spoke Thursday at a meeting of clergy and community members to discuss law enforcement's response to demonstrations over the killing in the town of Ferguson.

The governor told the audience that "you all will see a different tone."

He did not elaborate on the changes ahead, but they are likely to be explained at a news conference planned for later in the day.

The governor said he was late to the meeting because he had been on the phone with President Barack Obama, who sent "wishes of peace and justice."

President Obama: 'No excuse for violence against police; no excuse for excessive force'

In brief remarks near his vacation spot in Martha's Vineyard, President Barack Obama said there is no excuse for the use of excessive force by police in the tense aftermath of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and no excuse for violence against the police.

Pres. Obama said he wants an open and transparent investigation of the shooting death of 18-year-old Brown, so that justice is done.

He also said police shouldn't be arresting and bullying journalists who are doing their jobs. Two reporters were taken into custody and briefly jailed Wednesday evening in Ferguson.

Senator McCaskill: 'Police response adds to turmoil'

Speaking to about 100 people in the nearby St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Senator Claire McCaskill said the police response to the protests in Ferguson have become part of the problem rather than a solution.

Tensions remain high in the city, days after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested and police have used rubber bullets and tear gas on crowds after some tossed rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at officers. The response has drawn criticism from many circles.

Police defend response to protests

Police are defending their use of tear gas and smoke bombs, after another night of chaos in Ferguson in the aftermath of the shooting death of Brown.

Police say officers Wednesday night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers. More than 10 people were arrested.

A police spokesman says it's "scary" for officers dealing with the protests -- who hear gunshots and "don't know where they're coming from."

But the response is drawing criticism. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton says the Justice Department should monitor the way the police are handling the crisis.

Among those arrested was St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been chronicling the protests on social media. He told a radio station (KMOX) that what he calls the "heavy-handed approach by police" is "escalating the situation." And he says "more people are going to get hurt if this keeps up."