Ferguson | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles takes the oath of office at Ferguson City Hall Tuesday night.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and Councilwoman Ella Jones made something perfectly clear Tuesday night: The city’s mayoral election is over, and there’s no schism between the two elected officials.

Courtesy of U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay's office

Updated at 2:30 p.m. April 18 with judge rejecting reinstallation efforts — A federal judge rejected efforts Tuesday to reinstall in the U.S. Capitol a painting some lawmakers and police groups found offensive.

Forward Through Ferguson's Nicole Hudson is joining St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson's administration.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Hudson I Lindy Drew

St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson has hired a woman who’s twice worked to help institute policy changes in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting death.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than a week since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted to review all agreements between the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and local police departments — a move that could have a major impact in Ferguson.

If the consent decree that came after the August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown goes away, there would be no independent monitor to oversee the significant changes to the police department’s training and operations, including a new use-of-force policy. It’s not clear who would pick up the accountability baton.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles speaks to reporters in February 2016 after a City Council vote to amend the Department of Justice consent decree instead of approving it outright.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In an apparent vote of confidence, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles won re-election Tuesday over City Council member Ella Jones.

Knowles, who has been the face of the municipality since Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in 2014 by an officer thrust it and its racial divisions into the international spotlight, barely missed having to face a recall election in 2015. He beat Jones, who would have been the city’s first African-American mayor; unofficial results show the vote was 2,133 to 1,594.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials. (03/31/17)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2 p.m. with NAACP comment — Ferguson officials say they have not been notified by federal authorities about a potential review of the city's agreement with the Justice Department involving local police and municipal court reforms.

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered all consent decrees to be reviewed, including agreements in Ferguson, Baltimore and Chicago.

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s Election Day in the St. Louis region, where voters will decide on a number of high-stakes issues.

Polls are open in Missouri and Illinois from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County said no problems had been reported at polling stations by midday, and that turnout was light.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Pledging money, research and expertise for local law enforcement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought a face to the Trump administration’s pro-police message during a speech Friday in St. Louis.

He also made general mention of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white officer, and the tensions between police and African-Americans.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles chats with a supporter ahead of canvassing; Councilwoman Ella Jones greets people at a restaurant. On Monday, March 27, Knowles and Jones will participate in a mayoral forum ahead of the April 4 election.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air we aired highlights of the Ferguson Mayoral Forum held earlier this week at the Ferguson Community Center. Incumbent Mayor James Knowles III and Councilwoman Ella Jones are on the ballot for the April 4 nonpartisan election in Ferguson and both participated.

The event was sponsored by St. Louis on the Air and The Center for Social Empowerment.

Ferguson police officers record protesters on W. Florissant Avenue on Aug. 9, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, the department’s on-duty officers started wearing body cameras while on duty. And the federal government’s consent decree, which came in response to Brown’s death, mandated Ferguson officers wear them.

But a group of Ferguson residents wants to put the use of cameras into the city charter as a means of ensuring it continues long after federal oversight is over.

Residents and activists pressure Ferguson's City Council members to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree during a public forum on the decree in March of 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Numerous challenges await Ferguson’s next mayor, including a tight budget, frayed race relations and an understaffed police department. But the winner of April 4 contest will also face a less tangible quandary: repairing the city’s tattered image.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is up for re-election for the first time since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, an event that placed the north St. Louis County municipality in the international spotlight.

Ferguson Police Department
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It's been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Ferguson signed a consent decree to reform the city's police department and municipal courts. And both sides acknowledged Wednesday that they aren't as far along as they should be.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss speaks at a March 14, 2017, City Council meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A seemingly understaffed, overworked Ferguson Police Department is sowing unease among the some of the municipality’s residents, though authorities say they want to make sure they’re hiring the right officers.

Voters fill out their ballots at Central Baptist Church on Washington Avenue on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ March primaries are in the books. But don’t exhale quite yet: April’s municipal contests throughout the St. Louis region are only 22 days away.

Granted, these are typically low-turnout affairs that don’t attract as much attention as, say, a presidential election, but they’re often critical for taxation decisions. Plus, April elections can serve as pivotal showdowns for deciding the elected leadership of St. Louis County’s multitude of municipalities.

Screenshot from security camera video / St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office

Updated at 4:35 p.m. March 13 with comment from Ferguson police chief, attorney for convenience store and security footage — A security video made public over the weekend that shows Michael Brown at a Ferguson convenience store about a half-day before his death was a "poorly edited snippet" of something that was deemed "not relevant" to the grand jury investigation, the St. Louis County prosecutor said Monday.

Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The National Urban League Conference will be in St. Louis this summer.

The event will be held July 26-29 at the America’s Center.  

President and CEO Marc Morial said on Friday that St. Louis proved itself back in 2007 when it first hosted the national conference. But he said this year’s conference, with the theme “Save Our Cities,” is coming back in part because of the challenges African-Americans face in St. Louis.

Alderman Antonio French, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jenny Simeone and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Antonio French to show for the first time.

The 21st Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. 

The Ferguson Police Department's new D.A.R.E vehicle, a surplus humvee, which residents have said is insensitive to use.
Ferguson Police Department

The Ferguson Police Department’s new D.A.R.E. vehicle, a Humvee, bears the usual markings of the national drug-prevention program with recognizable red letters and its lion mascot.

However, the mascot’s name — Daren the Lion — has grabbed the attention of some residents and parents in the north county municipality. They believe it’s insensitive because it's too similar to Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. That shooting touched off weeks of at-times violent demonstrations to which law enforcement brought military-style vehicles.

Elizabeth Vega is on the front porch of Art House in this February 6, 2017 photo, talking about a child's chalk drawing on the bricks.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis artist and activist Elizabeth Vega spends a lot of time in her home.

It’s a place in north St. Louis known as Art House, that she bought in 2015. There, she provides space for sign-making and other activities related to protest actions. She also works with local children to create kites, collages and other art to help them process their feelings. Recently, she spent five days and nights at Art House without leaving. An ankle monitoring device kept her tethered to her home.

Mya Aaten-White poses for a portrait on Highmont Street in Ferguson, near the spot where she was shot in August 2014.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There is one thing Mya Aaten-White remembers clearly: laying down on a hardwood floor as blood seeped out of her forehead.

Three days into the protests that erupted in Ferguson after a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, someone shot Aaten-White in the head as she walked to her vehicle after a demonstration. She survived, but still has no answers.

“I’m not guaranteed safety on any given day,” Aaten-White said. “I don’t know who shot me, so they could try again.”

Children hold anti-rascist signs while standing on the lawn at a Ferguson related protest.
Provided by Lucas Alvarado Farrar

A local filmmaker aims to bring international audiences an authentic take on the protests that occurred in Ferguson two years ago after then-officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.

Director Damon Davis’ documentary “Whose Streets” takes an unflinching look at the Ferguson protests from the position of protesters and activists.  The film debuts today at the internationally recognized Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

The Prime Beauty supply store sign that was salvaged from rubble after Ferguson related protests turned chaotic has been turned into a sculpture.
Provided by Bryce Robinson

In 2014 Ferguson resident Bryce Robinson had the surreal experience of watching from a distance as his hometown became the center of national media coverage. When then-police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, the city erupted in protest.

Robinson, 29, was teaching at Notre Dame during the protests and civil unrest that occurred after the shooting. He was struck by the largely chaotic and disaster-focused narrative carried on livestreams and traditional news coverage.

He hopes to remind people of the thriving community that lived through troubled times with an exhibit at the Kranzberg Arts Center gallery.

Harvard professor Daniel D'Oca's students used an innovative approach to understand fair housing in Ferguson and the St. Louis metropolitan area.  (Jan. 18, 2017)
Daniel D'Oca

Daniel D’Oca, a professor in the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, recently turned his Fall 2016 Urban Planning and Design Studio into a case study in making accessible solutions for fair housing and urban segregation — in St. Louis.

He and a group of students studied the history of housing policy in the metropolitan area and how segregation contributed to the protests in Ferguson.

Sikeston Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Drew Juden will lead Missouri's Department of Public Safety, following his selection by Gov.-elect Eric Greitens Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens introduced Sikeston Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Drew Juden to lead the state Department of Public Safety on Monday. St. Louis Fire Department Captain Gregg Favre will be deputy director. Greitens said their job is supporting those in the public safety sector and Juden said he would “have their backs.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles listens to public testimony on Saturday about a proposed consent decree. Knowles and the rest of the city council could vote on whether to accept the 131-page agreement on Tuesday.
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The city of Ferguson took a big step Tuesday night toward a major policy requirement of its federal civil rights consent decree.

Council members introduced legislation that will make changes to the city's civilian review board. The council originally approved the board back in April, but it never met at the request of the Department of Justice, which wanted changes in the way it was set up.

Ferguson Police Department
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In September 2016, the city of Ferguson seemed to be floundering in its efforts to comply with a federal civil rights consent decree.

"We are not where we had hoped to be," said Justice Department attorney Christy Lopez said at the time. "Certainly, some deadlines have passed." 

But at a hearing Tuesday in front of judge Catherine Perry, the city, the Justice Department and the team overseeing the city's compliance with the decree all finally seemed to be pulling in the same direction.

Ferguson resident Emily Davis waits to speak at a 2015 Ferguson City Council meeting. Davis is part of the Ferguson Collaborative, a group that's been following the consent decree process closely.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The election of Donald Trump as president won't change the fact that Ferguson and its police department are operating under a federal civil rights consent decree. But how that decree is enforced could look very different.

St. Louis Regional Business Council

An effort to raise money for north St. Louis County schools and businesses in the aftermath of the Ferguson unrest is now ending.

Members of the "Reinvest North County Fund" committee announced that the fund is closing at a press conference Wednesday held at the Centene Corporation – Ferguson Service Center.

The fund allocated $950,000 over the past two years.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal to the show for the third time.

The University City Democrat was first elected to the Missouri Senate in 2010 and re-elected without substantial opposition in 2014. She will have to leave the Senate after 2018 due to legislative term limits.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

Many organizations are still working to make a difference in Ferguson and North St. Louis County two years after unrest erupted in the city. That includes several foundations and other nonprofits that made promises of funding and commitments to change as part of the healing process. We decided to check in with a few of those organizations to see how well they have followed through on their commitments.

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