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Published: Monday, 8/18/2014

Bowling Green-area activist in Ferguson

Johnson aims to help with political organizing in response to police actions

Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson

FERGUSON, Mo. — A local activist is in Ferguson, Mo., to help with political organizing in response to police actions against protesters there.

Daniel Johnson, 20, is the founder and president of the national group People Against the NDAA, an organization that works against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. He lives near Bowling Green and founded the organization in 2012 while a student at Bowling Green State University.

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager by white police in Ferguson on Aug. 9 and what many perceive as a militarized police response to subsequent protests has sparked national outrage.

“This is not the first time militarized police have been brought out against protesters,” Mr. Johnson said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Gov. Nixon orders National Guard to Ferguson

While he takes no position on the shooting, he said he is appalled by how demonstrators have been treated. Officers have donned military-style gear, carried heavy weapons, used tear gas against protesters, and have arrested journalists covering the situation. The National Guard also has been called in.

“The police treated the people here in Ferguson like second-class citizens and criminals,” he said. “This is not how America works.”

Mr. Johnson said he is not in Ferguson on behalf of his activist group, but on his own time to lend his expertise in organizing a coordinated political effort to push back against such police action.

“If there’s going to be a change, it’s not going to come by protests,” he said. “If there’s going to be a change here, it’s going to come by political action. If the community wants it, I’m here to help with that.”

Mr. Johnson was interviewed on CNN about his participation in Ferguson and his efforts to clean up the streets in the aftermath of public demonstrations. He plans to stay as long as he feels he can to help.

“I’m prepared to stay as long as necessary to get justice for the community,” he said.

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