Ferguson | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson

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.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks with reporters before the start of the presidential debate at Washington University. (Oct. 9, 2016)
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time during their Sunday night debate dwelling on vulgar comments, leaked speeches, personal income tax payments and tweets of days past.

But one thing the two didn’t talk about at all during their Washington University showdown was Ferguson.

Workers construct the stage on Friday for the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a little bit of time away, the national spotlight is back on St. Louis.

Hordes of reporters and political types will venture here this weekend for the second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

This area has a lot in common with what’s forming the national political discourse. Our racial, social and economic divisions were broadcast to the world after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. And finding tangible solutions to these longstanding gaps has been a slow and frustrating process.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of a 2016 Ferguson city council meeting.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the presidential campaign began in earnest, it’s become fairly common for candidates to allude to the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

But according to officials that represent Ferguson, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has visited the city since announcing their presidential bids. And with both candidates set to debate Sunday at Washington University, some of the city’s elected leaders say it’s time for Trump and Clinton to see the town for themselves.

De Nichols | Facebook

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C., to the public this past weekend. Unlike many of those in the crowd at the opening ceremony, St. Louis artists De Nichols, Marcis Curtis and Mallory Nezam made artwork that is in the museum’s collection.

The trio made the 13-hour trip by car from St. Louis to see The Mirror Casket’s new home. After touring the exhibits, the group left confident that the Smithsonian will carefully display the life-sized casket covered in shattered mirrors. The sculpture asks audiences to reflect on their role in the struggle for social justice.

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven St. Louis area residents have joined the board of Forward Through Ferguson, a successor organization to the Ferguson Commission.

The nonprofit group received 27 applications for the positions. Through what the group called an open, community-driven process, the committee selected “unflinching and unusual leaders” to work toward racial equity.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles sits with City Council members as residents comment on the consent decree in February.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

The city of Ferguson has made halting progress toward complying with a federal consent decree it signed in April.

Attorneys for the city, the Department of Justice and members of the independent monitoring team assigned to the case were in front of Judge Catherine Perry on Wednesday to give her an update. It was the first public review of the document since Perry accepted it five months ago.

Of the 40 objectives whose deadlines have passed, seven have not been implemented, according to a spreadsheet provided to the court. Another 20 are listed as "in  progress." 

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

When a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown outside Canfield Apartments in August, 2014, Darren Seals was one of the first people at the scene supporting Brown's family. In the two years that followed, Seals co-led many of the protests in the St. Louis area, calling for criminal justice reform and an end to structural oppression against people of color.

Early Wednesday, police found Seals shot and killed inside a burning vehicle in the Riverview suburb of St. Louis County. The 29-year-old's death is being investigated as a homicide.

Attendees for both a welcome rally for Ferguson's new police chief, Delrish Moss, and a protest against the city's attorney, Stephanie Karr, demonstrate outside the Ferguson Police Department on May 9, 2016.
File photo Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The team in charge of making sure that the city of Ferguson is complying with a federal consent decree will be in St. Louis on Wednesday to hear from the community.

Clark Ervin will meet as many individuals and groups as he can on Wednesday. The 15-minute meetings will take place between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and can be scheduled by emailing Ervin at clark.ervin@squirepb.com.

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Community activists draped banners over several overpasses over westbound Interstate 70 on Wednesday to call attention to neglected parts of St. Louis and protest police killings of black people.

Each banner greeted commuters heading into St. Louis County with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Police Stop Killing Us” and “Invest in North City.” Kayla Reed, one of the organizers with the St. Louis Action Council, said they chose I-70 because it allows drivers to pass quickly through areas with high rates of unemployment, infant mortality and crime.

A. J. Rosenberg was the lead artist on "Peace Wish Dove," 2014. Off-duty police officers and a number of others helped paint the 7-by-4-foot piece at an office on West Florissant Avenue.
Outside In: Paint for Peace

An art exhibition made of plywood, paint and community spirit opens this weekend in St. Louis.

The work emerged from the 2014 unrest sparked by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown. Nights of protest and police action gave way to days of boarding up buildings.

After a grand jury declined to charge Wilson in Brown’s death, the protests moved in to St. Louis on South Grand Boulevard. Business owners affixed plywood to their plate-glass windows to cover the damage and protect against more.

To artists and others, the plywood became a canvas. Painting alone, and in collaboration, they transformed the knotty wood into works of art. Beginning Saturday, a collection of the pieces will be displayed at several venues in a show called “Outside In: Paint for Peace.”

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