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What Will It Take To End The Violence In Ferguson?

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Most people want the nightly violence in the streets of Ferguson to end.

But getting there could take a while.

The protestors who have been gathering daily in Ferguson since the shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 say they just want justice done.

For many, that means seeing police officer Darren Wilson arrested and imprisoned.

But Washington University public health professor Darrell Hudson said short of that, providing more information about the investigations would help.

“Just giving people an update," Hudson said. "And saying, here's when you can expect to hear something ― some type of nugget to let people know that procedures are being followed, and that fairness and justice will be carried out here.”

State and federal investigations are ongoing and authorities haven't said how long they'll take.

Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio
Since Aug. 18, National Guard troops have been deployed to Ferguson, guarding the police command at the Northland Shopping Center.

Former St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom said stopping the violence means allowing peaceful protests to continue ― but also cracking down on people who don't follow the rules.

"Peaceful protestors want their voice to be heard," Isom said. "They want to express their frustration, and they want to keep the focus on justice for Michael Brown."

Isom, who is now a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said violence just detracts from that.

Even while protests are happening, Isom said cars and pedestrians need to be able to safely pass through the area and get to businesses and homes.

Isom said the handful of people who have been coming out for something other than peaceful protests must be identified, asked to follow the rules ― and arrested if they don't.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience