Ferguson

Community Empowerment Center of Ferguson, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

A year ago the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis announced its Community Empowerment Center of Ferguson.

A few months later a groundbreaking on the site of the former burned-out QuikTrip on W. Florissant Ave. drew a big crowd. What had become a central place for protests in the days after Michael Brown’s death would soon be a “phoenix rising,” officials said.

A group of more than a dozen activists, including Francesca Griffin and Mauraye Love, 9, center, wore bright safety vests and silently interrupted the council meeting to call on the city to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson City Council appears poised to approve a consent decree with the federal government, which aims to transform the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

It’s a move that could ultimately spare a financially struggling town from costly litigation with the Department of Justice.

Council member Wesley Bell answers questions from reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A member of the Ferguson City Council says his colleagues will likely reconsider a sweeping consent decree implementing major changes to the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

The move comes roughly a month after the council rejected aspects of the decree, which came about in the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting death.

Women and police on South Grand during a gathering to mourn VonDerrit Myers
Provided by Jarred Gastriech

Grand Center gallery Duet is pairing photographs by two photographers who documented the Ferguson Protests and the Bataclan shootings in Paris, as well as street life from the larger metro areas of both cities.  Both the gallerist and co-curator said the juxtaposition is intended to spark viewer’s awareness of the photographers’ unique perspectives in both circumstances.

"There are two things that go on with the photograph; the things that you know intellectually and culturally, and then the thing that makes a photograph special, that there’s something personal about it," said gallery owner and Lindenwood University Professor Daniel McGrath.

The Peace Train

This summer, a nationwide movement known as “The Peace Train,” will start its tour across the country in Ferguson. The program’s mission? Bringing together people from all backgrounds to sing about shared values and hopes for a better future.

The Peace Train 2016 Tour Across America is modeled off of a similar project in South Africa from 1993 that was documented in the film “When Voices Meet.”

Protesters carrying a banner that reads demand constitutional policing work to interrupt a meeting of the Ferguson City Council on February 23, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them.

Joining the show:

  • Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio reporter
  • Rachel Lippman, St. Louis Public Radio reporter

What we talked about:

Protesters carrying a banner that reads demand constitutional policing work to interrupt a meeting of the Ferguson City Council on February 23, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The decision by the Ferguson City Council to reject a proposed consent decree and take a chance in court is no more popular now than it was two weeks ago.

Protesters chanted "no consent decree, bankruptcy!" "no justice, no peace" and called for the resignation of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and city prosecutor Stephanie Karr. They unfurled a banner demanding constitutional policing as the council members conducted their business. 

Muhammad Yaacoub is the owner of Sam’s Meat Market in Ferguson. And he says that business has been slow since he reopened his doors last August.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a foggy morning in Ferguson, customers trickled in and out of Sam’s Market to pick up soda pop and snacks. This small grocery story reopened last summer after being looted three times and set on fire during the riot over Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Muhammad Yaacoub, the owner of Sam’s Meat Market, says that business has been slow since he reopened last August. And despite promises of economic redevelopment, empty lots and abandoned buildings surround his business on West Florissant Avenue.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Devin James, the author, business owner and former community engagement/outreach strategist for the city of Ferguson feels he has been mischaracterized for the work he did there following his firing by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in September of 2014. He’s trying to rectify the misperceptions in his tell-all memoir, “Inside Ferguson: A Voice for the Voiceless,” which was released last year.

The Justice Department slapped the city of Ferguson, Mo., with a civil rights lawsuit this week after the City Council voted to change a proposed settlement agreement to reform the police and courts.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the suit on Wednesday, she said Ferguson police disproportionately targeted black people for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.

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

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” contributor Steve Poetter discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. There was one story on everyone's mind this week that needed further explanation and analysis: the Ferguson consent decree. 

Here’s what we talked about:

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III answers question from reporters following Tuesday's city council meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 12 with comments from Mayor James Knowles III. -- The Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, alleging widespread constitutional violations in its police department and municipal courts.

The suit came less than 24 hours after the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree that would have eliminated the need for a lawsuit.

Ferguson's decision raised a number of questions about what comes next. We tackled a few of them here.

Laverne Mitchom stands with Mayor James Knowles III and her new fellow council members after Tuesday's meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a delay caused by a split vote last month, the Ferguson city council has unanimously appointed Laverne Mitchom to fill the open council position left by the death of Brian Fletcher on Jan. 10.

Mitchom is an African-American counselor with 30 years’ experience working for St. Louis’ voluntary school desegregation program, where she developed skills she says she plans to transfer to her role as councilwoman.

Ferguson court
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, alleging widespread constitutional violations in how it polices its residents. 

"The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday at a news conference. "We intend to aggressively prosecute this case, and we intend to win."

Ferguson resident Angelique Kidd questions city council members as they announce amendments to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree at meeting Tuesday night.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Faced with one of the most monumental decisions in its city’s history, the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree with the federal government.

The move is not sitting well with some of the embattled city’s residents – or the Department of Justice.

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.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not hyperbole to say that Tuesday’s vote on a proposed consent decree with the federal government is the biggest decision in Ferguson’s history.

The 131-page document casts a huge structural and financial shadow of a municipality still reeling from the shooting death of Michael Brown. If the Ferguson City Council votes to accept the agreement, it could deliver monumental changes to the city’s police department and government – at a hefty price tag.

Ferguson resident Anthony Cage addresses the mayor and city council members at Saturday's public hearing on the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Community stakeholders continue to give conflicting messages to Ferguson city council members as the council approaches an expected vote Tuesday on a proposed consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The city held its second public forum on the proposed decree Saturday, with a long list of passionate speakers keeping the meeting in session an extra hour. City officials also spent time answering questions raised at the previous forum, and Ferguson’s outside attorney hired to negotiate with the DOJ spoke for about 20 minutes.

Attendees listen as speakers comment on the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree at Ferguson's city council chamber on Feb. 2, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed several of the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. 

Here’s what we talked about:

Ferguson resident Felicia Pulliam questions city officials during a city council meeting called to discuss the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree at Ferguson's city hall Tuesday evening.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When it was his turn to speak about a consent decree that could dramatically shape Ferguson’s future, Gerry Noll acknowledged that the 131-page document was a risk.

The proposed agreement with the Department of Justice would impose major changes to the city’s police department and government. And it would require the city to pay for a monitor to track compliance – which could be very expensive.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, claimed that a third of Ferguson's budget was derived from civil fines. That statement is not true.
Flickr I ambientjohn

As voters in Iowa head off to caucus, a GOP presidential contender touched on the Ferguson unrest in the party's most recent debate. But U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's assertion about Ferguson's budgetary practices isn't lining up with the facts.

During last week’s GOP presidential debate, the Kentucky Republican senator was asked about expanding body cameras for police officers. Here's what Paul said:

.bobby | Flickr

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed several of the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. 

Here’s what we talked about, including:

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.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

For Emily Davis, the future of Ferguson will come down to attitude.

Davis is part of the Ferguson Collaborative, a group of people who live, work and pray in the beleaguered St. Louis County municipality. Davis has been closely watching Ferguson and the debate over a consent decree with the Department of Justice, which came into public view on Wednesday after a 131-page document was released to the public. 

Patricia Breckenridge
Missouri courts website

Missouri's municipal courts are improving, but more will be done to boost citizen confidence, so says State Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge.

She delivered the annual State of the Judiciary Address Wednesday to lawmakers at the Missouri Capitol. It focused heavily on issues surrounding the loss of public confidence in municipal courts in the St. Louis area in general, and Ferguson in particular.

Ferguson court
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Updated with details and comments from Rep. William Lacy Clay. — The city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice are approaching agreement on how to deal with the civil rights violations of the city's police departments and municipal courts.

Ferguson officials on Wednesday released a draft version of a consent decree. The city will accept written comments through Feb. 9, and at three City Council meetings. It must still be approved by the City Council and a federal judge — the agreement would end after the city completely complies with all agreement requirements for two full years.

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou and Jay-Marie Hill pose for a portrait. The two wrote 11 songs together in six days just days after meeting at a demonstration.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The pulpit, streets full of protesters and a recording studio don’t have much in common.  But for the Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, these three environments offer the chance to spread a gospel of equality.

“What are the ways that we’re going to wrestle with saving the democracy? Music can do that; the pulpit can do that; and engaging in the rich tradition of civil disobedience can do that,” said Sekou.

Eric Greitens
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 GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens to the program for the first time.

The Parkway North alum is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed Gov. Jay Nixon as governor. The other candidates are Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and businessman John Brunner. (All three GOP contenders have been guests on Politically Speaking – click on each name to listen to their shows. We long have had an open invitation for the likely Democratic nominee -- Attorney General Chris Koster.)

Terrell Carter's work begins the show
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A visual arts exhibit provocatively titled "Good Negroes" is challenging viewers' thoughts about racial inequality in the St. Louis region. 

Courtesy | Ameren Corporation

Promoting diversity within a corporation is nothing new.

But Ameren Corporation announced Thursday it will make its new "Discussion Across Differences" videos and materials available to other groups, free of charge.

Fletcher served as Ferguson's mayor from 2005 to 2011.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson isn’t giving its residents too much time to apply for a vacant city council seat.

When Councilman Brian Fletcher died earlier this month, it left a vacancy for a Ward 2 seat that isn’t up for election until 2018. The city says residents have until 5 p.m. on Friday to apply for the position.

Santiago Bianco
Santiago Bianco

A group of primarily young St. Louis residents have launched a campaign to turn a crowd-sourced photo book about Ferguson-related protests and events into a free educational package for students in area schools.

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