Ferguson | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson

Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy stands near a grassy path near South Florissant Road. She says a new state law limiting traffic fine revenue will make it harder for her city to pay for new sidewalks.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Viola Murphy can’t afford a new sidewalk for her town. For now, she’ll have to settle for a grassy path created with the imprints of pedestrians.

Murphy is the mayor of Cool Valley, a 1,200-person north St. Louis County municipality that borders Ferguson and Normandy. She was able to get a federal grant to create a sidewalk along one side of South Florissant Road. But because of a new state law that caps traffic fine revenue, her city can’t afford the match for the other side.

Ferguson City Councilmembers Brian Fletcher, Ella Jones and Wesley Bell take their oaths of office on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson city officials said they are "optimistic" that they will reach a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to overhaul the city's police department and change other policies.

Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Even when he was far away, De’Carlon Seewood couldn’t look away from what was happening in Ferguson.

At the time, Seewood was the city manager of Richton Park, Ill., a southwest suburb of Chicago. His 18-year career in local government included a stint as an assistant city manager in Ferguson and city manager of Berkeley, two communities that have gone through some turmoil over the past year.

Tommie Pierson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Tommie Pierson to the program for the very first time.

The Smithsonian bought the mirrored coffin, created by local artists as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lawrence Bryant |St. Louis American

A new initiative will pay former prisoners to make art. The project stems from the Mirror Casket, art produced during Ferguson related protests. According to one artist, there’s a direct relationship between issues of police brutality and mass incarceration.

“Whether your life is taken by a bullet or is taken by a prison cell, that life, that potential, is still taken away from this person,” said De Andrea Nichols.

Steve Tilley and Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to host a special edition* of the show with former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

(*From a technical standpoint, all Politically Speaking podcasts are recorded live and then disseminated throughout the Internet. But this week's show was recorded in front of an audience in St. Louis Public Radio's community room at Grand Center.)

Rev. Starsky Wilson speaks at the final meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Most people had left the room when it was Starsky Wilson’s turn to speak in the final moments of the Ferguson Commission’s last public meeting.

I, thankfully, stayed and listened.

Organization for Black Struggle members organize activists and Ferguson residents into a group outside the Ferguson Police Department Thurs Dec. 3, 2015 to call for public input in the city's consent decree.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As negotiations to reform the Ferguson Police Department continue between the city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice, a group of Ferguson residents spearheaded by the Organization for Black Struggle says it’s concerned that the taxpayers and community members don’t know the details of those negotiations.

The group, known as the Ferguson Collaborative, wants community stakeholders to be able to weigh in at a public “fairness hearing” before a judge signs off on the consent decree.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks a press conference Thursday in St. Louis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Dan Glaizer.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants a Supreme Court committee to alter court procedures surrounding debt collections. It’s an initiative that Koster says is an extension a public policy push emanating from the unrest in Ferguson.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar at a press conference Thursday, Sept.4
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Are police throughout the country holding back on law enforcement in the wake of demonstrations that started with the shooting death of Michael Brown? A recent Senate hearing and a conversation with St. Louis County Police chief Jon Belmar gave a variety of perspectives.

Levy's image of the Michael Brown memorial in Canfield Green the night of August 10, 2014
Joel Levy |Courtesy of Documenting Ferguson

The Documenting Ferguson project launched in the midst of escalating protests that called for justice after the death of Michael Brown. As protests quickly grew into the Black Lives Matter movement -- with similar protests in cities like Baltimore and Cincinnati -- documentary efforts also spread from the St. Louis area to other cities.

Andre Anderson, the new interim chief of the Ferguson police department, listens as Mayor James Knowles announces his appointment to the job on July 22. City manager Ed Beasley is to Anderson's left.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Ferguson’s interim police chief is resigning after a little more than four months on the job.

Andre Anderson, a commander with the Glendale, Ariz., police department, was appointed to the department’s top post in July for a six-month contract. He became the first black police chief in the history of the city, which is two-thirds African American.

Public health emergencies can range from weather-related emergencies to disease outbreaks to civil unrest.
Robert Boston | Washington University

The St. Louis region faces a wide range of potential public health crises, including natural disasters like tornados and floods, infectious disease epidemics and civil unrest.

Our ability to respond to such emergencies will be the focus of a conference on Thursday hosted annually by Washington University’s Institute for Public Health.

Protesters are greeted by lines of state and county police during a demonstration march on the Ferguson police station on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

An upcoming conference on Ferguson has promised “not to re-litigate the past,” but organizers instead hope to draw lessons for the future on both the rights of protesters and the difficult job that police officers face when they put on their uniforms each day. “The Ethics of Ferguson – Policing, Prosecuting, and Protesting” is the name of the conference, which will take place at Harris-Stowe State University on Friday, Nov. 20.

Saint Louis University President Fred Pestello addresses students at the university's Clock Tower last August after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Saint Louis University

Two of 13 initiatives from a controversial agreement between Saint Louis University and student protesters in the aftermath of Ferguson unrest aimed at improving opportunities for black students on campus have been "substantially completed" in the last year, according to a school administrator tasked with overseeing the progress.

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the working group created to study and propose reforms to municipal courts in Missouri heard from three main camps at a public hearing on Thursday, which stretched for nearly three hours.

One believes the system is fine, and many of the problems identified are being addressed. Another acknowledges there are problems, but wants to keep reforms local. The third, and largest by far, wants the Supreme Court to force the consolidation of municipal courts.

Jeffry Smith drinks a bottle of water inside the Saint Louis Zoo while wearing an empty gun holster on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next few days, gun-rights activists will challenge the limits of the Missouri’s gun laws in different ways.

On Friday, an attorney for Ohio activist Jeffry Smith will ask St. Louis circuit judge Joan Moriarty to allow Smith to bring a handgun into the St. Louis Zoo, despite signs declaring it a gun-free zone.

Ferguson Commission manager director Bethany Johnson-Javois and co-chairman Rich McClure look at some notes before the start of Wednesday's meeting.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, commissioners heard from FOCUS St. Louis, which wants to become what the commission describes as a “core intermediary” or a group that “provides infrastructure and support to advance the work of the Ferguson Commission."

Interim Ferguson Police Chief Andre Anderson listens to audience questions at a neighborhood policing forum after speaking to city council member Wesley Bell on Nov. 17, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Police Department is asking the public how it should do its job. Ferguson held the first of several meetings Saturday to ask residents and other stakeholders to join a steering committee that will create a neighborhood policing plan.

The idea is to build positive relationships between police officers and the neighborhoods they serve by creating a plan that will build positive community interactions.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with response from Municipal League - The umbrella organization for the cities, towns and villages in St. Louis County are turning thumbs down on a proposal by the county executive that could lead to loss of control over their police departments. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger wants municipal police departments to hit certain training, hiring and operational benchmarks. And if they don’t meet them, his administration could effectively force cities to contract with other agencies.

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