Michael Brown | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown

Friday afternoon, Ron Johnson of Missouri State Highway Patrol asks protester to keep the peace in Ferguson over the course of the night.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

In a special, live evening edition of "St. Louis on the Air," we discussed the grand jury's decision regarding the August shooting death of Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

Guests

James Cridland via Flickr

Producer's note: Join us for a special live edition of "St. Louis on the Air" at 10 p.m. Monday, following the announcement of the grand jury decision. You can listen live.

As the nation waited for the Darren Wilson grand jury decision announcement on Monday, the legal roundtable reconvened to discuss issues related to Ferguson, same-sex marriage and other legal issues.

Benjamin Crump speaking at a news conference in August. (St. Louis Public Radio file photo)
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

An attorney for the Michael Brown family is calling the grand jury process in the Darren Wilson case "unfair."

 Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Benjamin Crump said that St. Louis County prosecutors should recommend that the grand jury indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, instead of leaving the decision entirely in the grand jury’s hands.

ABC legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams interjected, saying that it is not uncommon for prosecutors to omit a recommendation in high-profile cases.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (right) and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley (left) meet the press on Friday. Slay told reporters that police and protesters are talking in advance of a grand jury decision regarding Ferguson Police officer Darren Wil
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis region on edge before a grand jury decides Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson’s fate, the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County are preparing for protests. 

Appearing before dozens of reporters in Clayton, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said that there have been talks between police officials and protests groups.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The deep freeze between St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley seems to be thawing. 

A little more than a week after Stenger and Dooley revealed that they weren’t talking to each other, the bitter rivals appear to have a line of communication to help with a changeover in office. Stenger defeated Dooley in a Democratic primary and will take office on Jan. 1.

The Missouri National Guard has been called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to assist local police with security after a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case. Typically, Guard troopers are called in to respond to emergencies, like natural disas
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/By Carlos J. Lazo)

After he declared a state of emergency, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been coy about exactly when and how many National Guard troops will come to the St. Louis area ahead of a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety also declined to give such "operational details" on Wednesday.

But to understand how the National Guard works generally, St. Louis Public Radio reached out to a department spokesman as well as a professor in Department of Military and Veterans Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Ferguson public safety press conference, 11-11-14. Belmar, Dotson, Ron Johnson, Isom, Bret Johnson, Replogle
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

St. Louisans may disagree on many things related to Michael Brown’s death, but we’ve been united in anxiety during the long wait for a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision on whether to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

When? What then? How will that affect each of us immediately and all of us long term? These questions have been hanging over everyone — from those directly involved in the protest or law enforcement to those who live far from Ferguson and see no direct connection to the issues raised there.

Ferguson public safety press conference, 11-11-14. Belmar, Dotson, Ron Johnson, Isom, Bret Johnson, Replogle
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

(Updated at 9 p.m., Mon., Nov. 17)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to protect “the two pillars: safety and speech’’ that he says could be tested in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision regarding the August police shooting that killed teenager Michael Brown. 

"Our goal is to keep the peace and allow folks' voices to be heard,'' Nixon said Monday night in a conference call with reporters.

gavel court justice
sxc.hu

(Updated at 3:25 p.m., Mon., Nov. 17)

An outdated Missouri law that allows police to shoot an unarmed fleeing felon could help Officer Darren Wilson avoid an indictment and prison, legal experts say.

If St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch advises the grand jury to follow the outdated law, he would be reducing the chances of an indictment. Wilson could be viewed as acting in line with state law when he shot unarmed Michael Brown after he began to flee.  

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French documents a Ferguson press conference in August.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Many protest leaders in and around Ferguson have expressed doubt that the grand jury will indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

But St. Louis Alderman Antonio French says he thinks an indictment is possible.

“I have not given up hope that there will be an indictment,” French said. “I think the evidence warrants at least a trial. And I think ultimately that’s what the community needs in order to heal the long-term wounds.”

French does agree with the general consensus that if the grand jury does not indict Wilson there will be large-scale protests.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, is leading a study for Better Together about how the region's policing agencies should be structured.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Better Together formed last year, it was already planning to examine how the region polices itself — especially because St. Louis County has so many different departments that patrol towns and cities.

But the review became more than just a theoretical exercise after the shooting death of Michael Brown. The roughly 60 police departments throughout St. Louis County underwent intense scrutiny for aggressive ticketing, little racial diversity and the targeting of African Americans. There have been widespread calls for substantial changes.

Police Chiefs Discuss Ferguson, What's Next

Nov 14, 2014
St.Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, left, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar prepare for an interview on "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio on Nov. 14, 2014.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

 When St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stopped by “St. Louis on the Air” on Friday, part of a weeklong media tour, they sought to stress that they have a plan and that their departments were working with protesters and community members.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

As the St. Louis region awaits a grand jury decision on whether to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with a crime, federal, state and local officials have been in constant communications with each other to prepare for what happens next. 

But there’s been no talk between two policymakers in particular: St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger.

Attorney for the family of Michael Brown Anthony Gray said private forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden testified Thursday before the grand jury, but would not speak to what he said. UPI/Bill Greenblatt
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The forensic pathologist hired by Michael Brown's family to perform a private autopsy testified Thursday before the grand jury considering whether to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's fatal shooting.

Attorneys for the family would not elaborate on what exactly Dr. Michael Baden said to the grand jury.

"He believes...that the substance of his testimony should be left to the purview of the grand jury, so in respecting the process, we won’t be able to comment on that this morning," said family attorney Benjamin Crump at a press conference Thursday.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay held a press conference on Wednesday to calm tensions over the runup to a grand jury decision over Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis residents nervously await a decision regarding Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had a simple piece of advice.

“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” Dooley said.

Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told reporters on Wednesday that law enforcement agencies are prepared to protect lives and property – and the rights of protesters – if Wilson isn’t charged with Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Courtesy of The Ethics Project

Nine African-American fathers, each from different backgrounds, spoke Tuesday about their experiences with police harassment, their fears for their children and their hopes for a stronger community.

The Father-2-Father panel at Greater St. Mark Family Church in Dellwood included educators, businessmen, clergy leaders and law enforcement officials.

Ferguson resident and panelist Charles Henson, said he attended because a father to father, man to man conversation is needed.

Activist Lisa Fithian leads a training session at Greater St. Mark's Church in Dellwood. 11/08 Durrie Bouscaren
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

In Ferguson, nearly every store window is boarded up along West Florissant Avenue. Police department have stocked riot gear and held trainings to respond to potential civil unrest. And protesters have held sessions to organize their own response.

In many ways, it feels as though the St. Louis region is holding its breath awaiting the grand jury’s decision over whether the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown will face charges.

Protest at Steve Stenger's election party
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday’s election would be boring. Vote anyway. That’s what I said last week. But election night turned out to be anything but boring. And so many voters turned out in St. Louis County that a fifth of the polling places ran out of paper ballots.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition that has played a large role in organizing protests since the police killing of Michael Brown is asking the St. Louis County Prosecutor for 48-hour advance notice before announcing whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will be charged.

The request is part of the Don't Shoot Coalition's response plan for widespread street demonstrations that are expected when the decision by a grand jury is released. County Prosecutor Bob McCullough has said the decision would be announced later this month.

Michael Brown's parents, Michael Brown, Sr. (far left) and Lesley McSpadden (center) at a rally in August 2014.
Jason Rosenbaum |St. Louis Public Radio

The parents of Michael Brown plan to travel to Geneva next week with human rights attorneys and Ferguson activists.

The group plans to speak to the United Nations Committee Against Torture and formally present a brief under the U.N. convention against inhumane treatment.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

For the second time in two days, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch has issued a statement on the grand jury investigation into the death of Michael Brown. 

"The purpose of the criminal justice system is to search for justice, but before one can determine what is just, one must first determine what is true," read the statement from McCulloch's office, released on Friday morning. "At this stage, the grand jury is engaged in that search for truth."

At the Michael Brown memorial in mid-August
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Amid conflicting witness statements and autopsy analyses, dueling videotapes and a loud outcry for justice, there is substantial agreement about many of the facts surrounding the killing of Michael Brown.

Educators Address Racial Inequality

Oct 30, 2014
(Flickr/Cast a Line)

Sixty years ago, Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregated schools. Now, race and another Brown family are in the news: 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson in August.

On Saturday, Metropolitan Congregations United for St. Louis and United Congregations of Metro East are sponsoring a daylong education symposium that will look at those events and racism.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson City Council meetings have been tumultuous since Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson. But on Tuesday, the tone changed a bit when a diverse group of Ferguson residents came forward to make changes to their community. 

A racially diverse group of Ferguson residents used the council’s public comment section to introduce their new group – One Ferguson. The speakers want their group to be a conduit to make changes to the city’s police, economic development and judicial procedures.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With sleek, white furniture and an array of flat screen televisions, Express Scripts’ research lab has all the trappings of modernity and success. But for his part, Express Scripts CEO George Paz saw something else when he broke ground on his company’s headquarters a few years ago.  

When he stepped on the north St. Louis County field that would later become Express Scripts' campus, Paz saw dilapidated houses and sewer runoff. It wasn’t a sure-fire economic development opportunity.

The panelists of "Ferguson: Where Do We Go From Here?" at the Amnesty International Midwest Conference: Ferguson Township Democratic Committeewoman Patricia Bynes, St. Louis Association of Black Psychologist President Marva Robinson, SLU Law professor Bre
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

To many on the ground in Ferguson, calls to action have evolved into a movement over the past two months. A panel of local organizers discussed what shape that movement should take Sunday at Amnesty International’s Midwest Conference.

The six panelists represented a range of experience—from the political to the legal and psychological—but they all had one thing in common:  a desire for change in the wake of the death of Michael Brown.

For Hands Up United activist and rapper Tef Poe, that means organizing – while leaving space for differences of opinion.

Kehinde Wiley, detail, ‘After Titian's Penitent Mary Magdalene,’ oil wash on paper, 90 x 60 inches, Courtesy of Susan and David Sherman
Provided by Philip Slein Gallery

Black-owned galleries display African-American art all year long. Many others tend bring out such work only during February, Black History Month. But that’s changing.

Recent shows bucking the trend include an exhibit opening Friday at the Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End. African-American-themed work from private St. Louis homes comprises “Other Ways, Other Times: Influences of African-American Tradition from St. Louis Collections.”

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

You've seen the lawn signs; now everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs bearing the "I Love Ferguson" logo will be sold at a new store opening Friday.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been nearly a year since a group called Better Together formed to look at St. Louis’ regional governance. From the outset, the organization met with optimism – and skepticism. 

Leah Gunning Francis, second from left, locks arms with Rev. Karen Anderson, Betty Thompson, Rev. Traci Blackmon and Valerie Richmon of Austin, Tx at the front of the Mother's March on October 18, 2014.,
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson says he was afraid for his life in the moments before he killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9, according to an article published Friday by the New York Times.

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