The Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department needs to dial down its heavy paramilitary presence and look to do more community policing, former Atlanta Mayor and former ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young suggested Monday on Newsmax TV's
In the wake of the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teen who had allegedly just robbed a convenience store, the community has erupted in violent protests and looting, and police have responded by using tear gas on protesters. The officer who fired the deadly shots was a white, six-year veteran of the police force.
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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard
to Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb of 21,000 residents, to try to get a handle on the unrest.
Young told host J.D. Hayworth that "approaching a crowd with all of that military gear, the presence of tanks, that's really not for local problems," he said. "The police have to be a part of the community."
Young said he didn't blame the police, but suggested law enforcement try to be more "actively involved" there and engage in more community policing.
"It's a matter of respect and in domestic politics and in law enforcement, even the most hostile environments have to be met with respect for the citizenry," he said. "I used to say to my policemen, these are the people who pay your salary."
Young said the situation in Ferguson is deteriorating, and that Nixon's decision to send in the National Guard, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder's order for a third autopsy, done by the federal government, "probably will help because it will back down both groups.
"It will be a de-escalation. What's going on now is not working, and it's only getting worse. I thought there'd be one night of protests and then we might start a discussion, a committee or some rational evaluation on the part of the police and the community."
New York City's former Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Michael Baden, performed a private autopsy
at the request of Brown's family.
The results showed six shots — four in the arm, and two in the head. Witnesses have said Brown was unarmed and on his knees with his hands up when the police officer shot him, CNN
reports. Authorities say Brown attacked the officer in his car and tried to take his gun.
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