Michael Brown | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown

UMSL grad students Aaron Willis, right, and Mario Charles help students in the ULEAD program.
August Jennewein | UMSL

In the face of tragic news about violent crime and clashes with police, students may feel they won’t get a fair shake from those who are in charge.

A new course put together by graduate students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis known as ULEAD was designed to help explain what is going on and how to handle it.  

ULEAD stands for Urban Legal Education and Academic Development. In plainer language, it wants students in middle school and high school to have a “working knowledge of the legal and civic nuances” of the communities where they live.

Man stands in the middle of a crowd with reporters and cameras reflecting smaller versions of the scene. The sky is gray.
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Familiar faces from the past few days and the past two years gathered in the parking lot of Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson. At 7 in the morning, it's an early start for what will shape up to be roughly a four mile walk through the August heat for a "Justice Walk" organized by Michael Brown Sr.

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

For five minutes audience members at Greater St. Mark’s Church in Ferguson stood up one by one to speak the names of people of color killed by police or community violence.

Among the crowd were the family members of six of those whose names were called out, including their younger brothers and sisters.

The siblings and children of victims are not often in the limelight. But on Friday night, the stories and experiences of those young family members had the floor.

Michael Brown Sr. surrounded by a crowd holding red and blue balloons. A pink cell phone is in the foreground.
CAROLINA HIDALGO | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Between the steady stream of media interviews, final logistical planning and volunteer coordination, it’s been a busy week for the Brown family and members of the Chosen for Change Foundation. They started working on the second annual memorial weekend that will celebrate the life of Michael Brown Jr. nearly a year ago.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, and Congressman Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal don’t have a lot of commonalities. But they’re both good at winning elections.

Inspired and fueled by their successful mentors, Clay and Chappelle-Nadal have withstood strong challenges to survive and advance through Missouri politics. Now, the two University City Democrats are putting their unblemished electoral records on the line in a battle to represent the 1st Congressional District.

How do you talk about policing with your children? Gregory Carr, Sr., and Gregory Carr, Jr., discuss the impact policing has had on their lives.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Gregory Carr Jr. is fourteen years old, a rising sophomore, and about to have a birthday that means he’ll be able to get his driver’s permit. That coming-of-age ritual has taken an ominous tone in recent days after the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Castile was shot to death by a police officer in St. Paul, Minn., while in his car.

When St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh asked what the world looks like to him right now, Carr Jr. replied:

Balloons are released in commemoration of what would've been Mike Brown's 20th birthday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Family, friends and neighbors gathered at Canfield Green Apartments Friday afternoon to celebrate what would’ve been Michael Brown Jr.’s 20th birthday.

Michael Brown Sr. and his nonprofit, Chosen for Change Foundation, hosted the party to provide a moment of remembrance and joy for a community that organizers say is still dealing with grief.

“We just want everybody to have a great time, and a nice time, and enjoy themselves and bring smiles and some type of comfort back to their home,” Brown said.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown Jr. would be 20 today if he’d survived the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting by former Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. On what would have been his son’s birthday, Michael Brown Sr. is choosing to focus on his son’s life, not just his death.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents, supporters and protesters at the city police department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Delrish Moss saw the turmoil and chaos unfold in Ferguson, it hit close to home.

Before he was sworn in on Monday as Ferguson’s top law enforcement officer, Moss spent several decades in the Miami Police Department. He said the unrest that followed Michael Brown’s death was reminiscent of what he’s witnessed firsthand in Miami.

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

Updated Friday, April 15, 3 p.m. to included comments from grand opening: The opening of Centene's $25 million center in Ferguson Friday is the completion of a goal set by the company's chief executive officer shortly after violence broke out in the city in 2014.

Michael Neidorff said the investment by the Clayton-based managed care company should send a message to some employers who left Ferguson in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death.

Rapper C-Sharp is spreading the word about a voter participation initiative called "YouTurn 2016."
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, we take things in a slightly different direction by interviewing St. Louis musician C-Sharp about his get-out-the-vote initiative.

The St. Louis County native has launched “YouTurn 2016.” In addition to talking with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Willis Ryder Arnold about the importance of voting, C-Sharp is barnstorming across the city to talk about the value of voter participation.

Attorney David Pittinsky stands with mayors of numerous St. Louis County cities on Thursday. Pittinsky is leading a lawsuit against a state municipal overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated with decision to appeal - A Cole County judge has rejected major parts of the most significant public policy achievement in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

It’s a decision that serves a major victory for African-American-led St. Louis County municipalities, and likely places the future of municipal governance overhaul in the hands of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III listens to public comments on Saturday during a public hearing at the Ferguson Community Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson residents will consider raising taxes next week to fill a big budgetary gap, a potentially critical decision for the beleaguered city.

Before the city approved a consent decree with the federal government, members of the Ferguson City Council placed a sales tax increase and a property tax hike on the April 5 ballot. The sales tax proposal would boost the city’s sales tax rate by 0.5 percent. The property tax item would increase the city’s property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed value.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, Starsky Wilson ended his time on the Ferguson Commission with stirring and strong words for politicians who would have to do the work ahead.

“If the win for you is getting elected, we don’t need you,” said Wilson, the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. “If you eat steak because you got what you wanted in the community that’s still fighting for a generation, you’re not the one.”

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.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, speaks at a Wednesday press conference Lesley McSpadden. McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, wants the legislature to help expand the use of body cameras for law enforcement.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When then-Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, the policeman wasn’t wearing a body camera. And the uncertainty that followed provided a spark of sorts for programs to help law enforcement get the devices.

But Missouri did not pass legislation last year that would assist local police departments pay for body cameras – and provide guidelines for when footage is released. On Wednesday the issue returned with lawmakers receiving encouragement from Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown.

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

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.

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:

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

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. 

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 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.

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.

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.

A man with an American flag stands in front of a Ferguson Police car earlier in July.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

If you’ve developed an interest in legislation inspired by the unrest in Ferguson, then you’ve probably seen some strong adjectives attached to a law known as Senate Bill 5.  

Sen. Eric Schmitt’s legislation has been described as “sweeping,” “multi-faceted,” “massive,” “broad” and "significant.” It lowers the percentage of traffic fine revenue cities can keep; prompts St. Louis County cities to adhere to certain standards; and provides new guidelines for how municipal courts should operate.

St. Louis County Police form a line in front of protesters on Tuesday. They were put in charge of securing protests on Monday when St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger called a state of emergency.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 a.m. Friday with lifting of state of emergency. On a cloudless Tuesday night on West Florissant Avenue, the mood was relatively calm. A few dozen protesters, onlookers and media milled about on a parking lot – a far cry from chaos that struck the thoroughfare on Sunday night.

Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes two mayors of small north St. Louis County to the show talk about a sweeping overhaul of the state’s municipal courts system.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
File photo | Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

After a relatively calm Tuesday night in Ferguson, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger may be close to lifting his state of emergency order. But it won't happen on Wednesday.

Tuesday's protests on West Florissant Avenue were largely uneventful. While police pushed protesters out of the street, most people along the thoroughfare mingled with each other and marched around the street without incident. 

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