Michael Brown | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown

Better Together’s Dave Leipholtz, Washington University law school professor Mae Quinn and Thomas Harvey of the Arch City Defenders speak at Monday's Ferguson Commission meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Since the unrest in Ferguson began in early August, curbing the power of municipal courts has become a focal point for policymakers from across the political spectrum. 

But at Monday’s meeting of the Ferguson Commission at St. Louis University’s Il Monastero, Maryland Heights resident Dan Hyatt brought the issue home.

The IT professional told commissioners how he was put in jail in Breckenridge Hills for three hours after a disagreement over whether he stopped at a stop sign. He said it was a galvanizing experience.

'St. Louis on the Air' legal roundtable members discuss law issues on Dec. 15, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio. From left, Don Marsh, 'St. Louis on the Air' host; William Freivogel, professor at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale's Paul Simon Publ
Rebecca Smith / St. Louis Public Radio

Many people are unhappy with a grand jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, and the St. Louis County prosecutor’s handling of the case.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces on Nov 24, 2014, that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch released more grand jury testimony in the case of former Ferguson police office Darren Wilson on Saturday, including the law enforcement interview with Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown when he was killed in August.

Protest organizer Juliette Iacovino shouts into a bullhorn.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

WASHINGTON -- Thousands took to the streets Saturday in cities across the country for a so-called “National Day of Resistance” to protest the decision of grand juries not to indict police officers for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.

The "Carnival of Injustice" marched through downtown St. Louis.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The “Carnival of Injustice” marched through downtown St. Louis Friday morning, making stops at City Hall and the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. courthouse – both of which were locked and guarded by law enforcement officers.

More than 30 people gathered at Kiener Plaza, and the crowd was very diverse.

Universal African People's Organization leader Zaki Baruti (left) and African People's Socialist Party leader Omali Yeshitela.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Activists connected to the Leadership Coalition for Justice (formerly called the Justice for Mike Brown Leadership Coalition) and the African People’s Socialist Party announced Friday that they are convening a symbolic grand jury in January to decide for themselves whether former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should be charged with a crime for killing Michael Brown.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

Updated to include Michael Castro's poetry and interview audio, and reaction from poet Shirley Bradford LeFlore.

Except for dotting the “i’s” and crossing a “t” or two, St. Louis has its first official poet.

Jonathon Pulphus leads protesters in song as theater goers cross the sidewalk to see Annie on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Theater-goers attending Annie Sunday afternoon were serenaded by two dozen protesters outside the entrance to Fox Theatre.

The demonstrators sang modified versions of songs from Annie, including “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow,” as theater-goers, many with children, passed by on their way to see the musical. 

Aaron Dickerson paints St. Louis cityscape on the plywood covering the windows of an auto parts shop in Dellwood on Saturday, December 6, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

More than 30 businesses in Ferguson and Dellwood now have artwork covering their windows instead of ordinary plywood.

Inspired by the artistic efforts of friends on South Grand, Tom Halaska organized the “Paint for Peace” project to coordinate volunteers, donated supplies and businesses in north St. Louis County that wanted to participate.

Halaska, who owns the Art Bar on Cherokee Street, said he wanted to bring people together in a positive way.

Eugenia Alexander, left, and Edna Patterson-Petty
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting, the saying goes. And in the case of East St. Louis’ Edna Patterson-Petty and her granddaughter Eugenia Alexander, the frosting is artistically done.

Patterson-Petty is a fiber artist and art therapist. Alexander grew up enamored by her grandmother’s work, which includes an art quilt made for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

After a Thanksgiving hiatus, the Politically Speaking podcast team is back in the saddle. And this week, we welcome state Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, who will be the new Senate minority leader when the General Assembly goes back into session in January. 

Keaveny – a lawyer and the 28th Ward Democratic committeeman -- also chairs the Senate’s Democratic campaign arm. He has been in the Missouri Senate since late 2009, when he won a special election to fill an unexpired term. He won re-election on Nov. 4.

Former Ferguson Mayor Will Seek City Council Seat

Dec 4, 2014
Committee chairman and former mayor Brian Fletcher talks with a resident and a volunteer about the "I Love Ferguson" new store that will sell items including the logo-bearing T-shirts.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

Former two-term Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher said Thursday that he’s seeking a City Council seat in April's election.

“I do plan on coming back. I plan to run for 2nd Ward in City Council, and I would be proud to serve the people in Ferguson if they’ll have me again,” Fletcher told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.

Fletcher served as the city’s mayor from 2005 to 2011. He spent 16 years as a Democratic committeeman, and served on the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s board.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Dec. 2, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Since August, many people have been asking who’s in charge in Ferguson. Add James Knowles, the city’s mayor, to that list.

In an interview Tuesday with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh, Knowles said he was kept out of the loop on state and regional efforts, including security and leadership decisions.

Church Leader: Ferguson Is About All Of Us

Dec 2, 2014
The Very Rev. Mike Kinman prepares for an interview Dec. 2, 2014, with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh at St. Louis Public Radio.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Religious leaders have actively addressed Ferguson issues and participated in Ferguson demonstrations since August. For the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, getting involved comes down to one word: Listen.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, Nov 11, 2014
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican state senator has pre-filed legislation that would lower the amount of traffic fines a city can keep. 

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This morning's news takes us around the world in protest. We'll hear in the next few minutes about acts of protest and the response in Hong Kong, online and near Ferguson, Missouri.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

CROWD: (Chanting) No justice, no football. No justice, no football.

Screen capture from official Ferguson Commission website, stlpositivechange.org

Gov. Jay Nixon’s Ferguson Commission meets for the first time from noon to 5 p.m., Monday, at the Ferguson Community Center.

Although the meeting is five-hours long, Ferguson Commission co-chairs Rich McClure and the Rev. Starsky Wilson recommended that the public stay the whole time in order to get to know the commissioners and have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

McClure said the commission’s purpose is to listen to the public just as much as it is to make recommendations.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks leads first day of march to Jefferson City on Saturday, November 29, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

About 150 people set out from Ferguson Saturday on the first leg of a seven-day, 134 mile march to end racial profiling organized by the NAACP. Some participants, such as NAACP president Cornell William Brooks, plan on walking all the way to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City.

Others, such as Tim and Tia Swain, are walking a day or two. The couple drove out from Indianapolis to be part of the action, but have work commitments later in the week.

Tia Swain said she and her husband are marching for equal access to justice regardless of skin color.

The Fashions R Boutique was one of 13 businesses in Dellwood that burned down during Monday's riots following the announcement of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Echoing the mayor of neighboring city Ferguson, the mayor of Dellwood is adding his voice to the criticism of Gov. Jay Nixon and demanding answers in the aftermath of Monday's riots.

Mayor Reggie Jones said Dellwood was promised its business district would be protected by National Guard troopers, but he said "they failed to arrive."

While Ferguson has "gotten more attention," Jones said, his city saw the most damage and he wants to make sure his city also gets the resources it needs to recover. 

St. Louis Galleria die-in 11-28-14. Part of the Black Fri
Emanuele Berry/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at midnight

Shoppers who wanted to find some deals at the St. Louis Galleria found themselves out of luck Friday, as the mall temporarily closed its doors following a peaceful protest over the grand jury's decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

About 200 protesters marched, sang, and chanted for nearly two hours. Police stood back and allowed the protests to happen. There were no arrests reported. A large number of stores locked their doors during the demonstration.

Ka’milla McMiller (center) links arms with two other protesters to block the intersection of Kingshighway and Manchester Ave on November 26.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

Thumping their chests in unison, about 125 protesters blocking a major intersection in the Grove neighborhood staged a protest that mirrored those of the past few months; but with a slightly different message.

“Trans Lives Matter!” 

After a 4 and a half minute moment of silence, the group then marched up Manchester Avenue, as bar-goers walked outside to take pictures or raise their hands in solidarity.

Demonstrators at city hall Wednesday afternoon 11/26
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a hundred protesters attempted to enter St. Louis City Hall Wednesday, but were not allowed through the doors. After they were denied entry, they crowded in front of the entrance, chanting “Let us in,” and “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”

Police in riot gear quickly responded in force, telling everyone to leave because it was an “unlawful assembly.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Capt.Dan Howard said the protest became unlawful when someone “made contact” with a security guard.

Ferguson and St. Louis residents are trying to cope with and understand a grand jury's decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August death of Michael Brown, and the response, sometimes violent, to that decision.

Wednesday on "St. Louis on the Air," we discussed an upcoming march organized by the NAACP; protests in St. Louis; the response in Washington, D.C.; the grand jury evidence and how to talk about Ferguson and protests with children.

Guests

Circus Harmony performers join with members of the Galilee Circus in July in Haifa, Israel.
Photo provided by Jessica Hentoff

Jessica Hentoff has gone all the way to Israel to bring people of markedly different perspectives together. This summer, Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony, took members of her tumbling group, the St. Louis Arches, to the Middle East. There, the Arches joined with Arab and Israeli youth from the Galilee Circus, where they worked and learned together, setting aside religious, political and cultural differences.

(l to r) Michael Brown, Sr. (second from left, in T-shirt), Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump (at podium)
Nancy Fowler

Attorneys for Michael Brown’s parents say they’re focusing on their next steps, after a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing their son.

Sign painted on boarded-up window at the Upcycle Exchange
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

When the big window in her craft shop on South Grand was covered with plywood on Tuesday, Autumn Wiggins wasn’t about to let a drab, blank canvas go to waste.

So some artist friends, Ken Wood and Andrew James, wielded a paint brush and a roller and soon, in stark black against a bright white background, the shop’s name, Upcycle Exchange, was there to proclaim that she was open for business – and that the new blackboard could be used as a place for others in the eclectic neighborhood to voice their views on the aftermath of Monday night’s demonstration.

Many businesses along South Grand Boulevard suffered glass damage. Nov. 24
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Late Monday, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced that a grand jury had voted it would not indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Protests began soon after the announcement in Ferguson and St. Louis, followed by acts of arson and violence.

Tuesday on "St. Louis on the Air," we tried to get a better idea of how the communities are reacting and what is planned.

Guests

Tear gas was used in Ferguson. Nov. 24 2014
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters and law enforcement officers may have hoped for calm. But reaction to news of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown ended in arson, looting and tear gas.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

Look here for grand jury testimony released by St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch after the jurors decided not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson August 9. 

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