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Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson’s commanding presence has captured international public attention. Louis suburb where a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen to death, Johnson knows that his neighbors’ opinions matter most. The 27-year patrol veteran grew up down the road from the neighborhood where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed. The barrel-chested Johnson is a former high school football player who looks the part. Protesters and politicians credit him with almost entirely defusing nightly violence marked by angry encounters between protesters and police.

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