Michael Brown | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown

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

How much news coverage of Ferguson is too much?

Judging from the unscientific sampling of opinion I’ve heard over the last two months, St. Louisans have starkly different answers to that question. Some are fed up. Others think news organizations are only beginning to pay appropriate attention to police-community tensions, African American experiences and issues of racial disparity.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Given the angry images and actions out of Ferguson and south St. Louis in recent weeks, you might not think that being too nice would be a problem in dealing with diversity.

Yet in recent discussions about Washington University’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion – why it is needed, what it hopes to accomplish – the four-letter word that came up repeatedly was “nice.”

Brittany Ferrell of  Millennial Activists United. Her organization helped coordinator activities during Ferguson October.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Since Michael Brown’s death one has heard a consistent cry for justice. For many protesters, that justice means the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed 18 year old. That case is before the grand jury. But an indictment is not the only definition of justice, as sought by those who have been demonstrating.

Justice Beyond Indictment

Brittany Ferrell loves nursing.

“Having the ability to touch someone’s life whether they just came into this world, or they are exiting this world, that means a lot to me.”

Demonstrators sketched a chalk outline of a body on the pavement of the Ferguson Police Station on October 13.
Rachel Lippman | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 10:45 p.m. with additional information about the arrests)

Amid pouring rains and a tornado watch, the fourth day of a national call to action in St. Louis included protests and dozens of arrests in Ferguson and elsewhere.

The events Monday included a march led by clergy to the Ferguson Police Department, a "dead-in" at Washington University in St. Louis and a demonstration at St. Louis City Hall.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Among the public policy issues that have emerged since Michael Brown’s death, reforming municipal courts appears to have gained the most traction

Last week, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich announced which municipal courts his office was investigating to see whether they’re keeping more traffic fine revenue than what’s allowed under state law.

St. Ann was one of the 10 municipalities on Schweich's list.

Signs show the variety of groups that came to St. Louis for the Oct. 11 march.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 1,000 people marched through downtown St. Louis Saturday to protest the death of Michael Brown and other young, black men at the hands of police officers. The Saturday action extended into Sunday morning, as about 100 people marched from the Shaw neighborhood to a QuikTrip on Vandeventer Avenue near the entrance to the Grove neighborhood. That followed a vigil and march in Ferguson.

Downtown

At the downtown march, despite the serious message, the mood was almost party-like at times, with music, drums and even a trumpet.

Emanuele Berry|St. Louis Public Radio

As protests continue, a movement supporting law enforcement is gaining traction.

Some St. Louis area residents are organizing a supply drive, collecting prepackaged food and toiletries for police officers. The drive was the brainchild of North County native Katrina, who asked that her last name not be used for safety reasons. Her father and relatives are high ranking members of local public safety departments.

USE THIS Powell Symphony Hall
Alise O'Brien | St. Louis Symphony

Some Ferguson protesters caused a stir this week with demonstrations that confronted people outside Ferguson — first at Powell Hall, where the St. Louis Symphony was performing the Brahms Requiem, and later at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals were winning the division championship.

From a march in Ferguson on Aug. 15
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Durham, Cleveland, Portland and New York: These are just some of the cities from which people are traveling to St. Louis this weekend for "Ferguson October" — a series of events, including marches, rallies and educational sessions.

The musical protest at the St. Louis Symphony on Oct. 4 included banners
Screenshot from the YouTube video posted by the St. Louis American

Last Saturday night a group of protesters interrupted the St. Louis Symphony at the very end of intermission. The protesters sang an adaptation of the old folk song “Which Side Are You On?” They dubbed the performance “Requiem for Mike Brown” and began their protest shortly before the Symphony began Brahms' German Requiem.

This song wasn’t picked at random.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated noon, Thursday, Oct. 9)

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is the star of Republican Rick Stream’s television ad, an unusual example of cross-party dynamics in the race for St. Louis County executive.  

Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat, appears in an ad promoting Stream’s bipartisan credentials. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11 am, Thurs., Oct 9 with links to national coverage.) When St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay meets with mayors and police chiefs from around the country this week in Little Rock, Ark., he’ll be talking about the lessons learned from the turmoil in Ferguson. 

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio has filed a formal complaint against the city of Ferguson for violating Missouri’s open records law by attempting to charge unreasonable amounts for public documents. Ferguson wants more than $2,000 before handing over the public records requested.

On Sept. 23, I wrote to Ferguson officials, asking for certain records – most of them emails. State law is explicit that these records requests have to be answered within three business days.

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

Michael Brown's parents are renewing their call for a special prosecutor in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of their son citing "compelling and rising concerns of conflict."

In a letter written by their attorney, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday to reconsider replacing St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. Nixon declined to remove McCulloch when he had the power to do so during the state of emergency imposed during August's unrest.

Esme Schumann, (left) Mark Overton and Susie Weinstein dig a hole the City Garden Montessori School in order to plant a new birch tree. In the background, Michael Powers and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed approach.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region gained 500 native trees Sunday. People gathered in public spaces stretching from north St. Louis County to the south side of St. Louis, to plant the trees as part of “Plant for Peace.” The initiative was organized by the office of St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

Reed said his office wanted to do something that would bring communities together after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Police Department has taken over command of security of protest demonstrations in Ferguson. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson asked St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar to take over Friday after consulting with Ferguson’s mayor and city manager.

Belmar said that the Ferguson police department lacked the manpower to handle the level of activity in Ferguson.

Events in Ferguson are drawing the attention of lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t think the issues that have been raised by the incidents in Ferguson and the continuing unrest are going away anytime soon, and those issues really don’t start with Ferguson,” said Jim Howard, St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.

Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

A tutoring program that now serves 150 students in north St. Louis could expand to help 350 more students in the city and north St. Louis County with the help of $500,000 in federal funds awarded by the state of Missouri.

Lenard Hinds in Hands Up exhibit
Provided by Hands Up, Don't Shoot

An upcoming exhibit responding to the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer won’t be your typical art show.

The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” exhibit will open Oct. 17 and 18 in more than a dozen galleries — and one entire city.

The Ferguson Public Library and the city of Ferguson as a whole are listed among the exhibition spaces. That’s because the burned-out QuikTrip and the monuments to Michael Brown can also be seen as living works of art, according to curator Freida Wheaton.

9/30/14
Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The anti-violence initiative Stop the Killing has been wildly popular among street demonstrations in Ferguson since the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer on August 9.

The campaign’s simple message with a design of purple hands held aloft, hearts on each palm, has seemed almost tailor-made to fit the protests of Ferguson's most popular chant “hands up, don’t shoot!” The chant stems from witness accounts that Brown’s hands were up when he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson last month. 

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer nearly two months ago once again shed light on the deep racial divisions that exist in the St. Louis region. Nowhere is that more apparent than in local police departments, which often don’t look like the communities they serve. 

police line ferguson 81814
Ray Jones | UPI

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is defending its decision to approve funds for “crisis communications” in response to the unrest in Ferguson.

Residents Share Their Views Of Ferguson, Protests

Oct 1, 2014
At the Ferguson Farmers Market August 2014
File photo | Tim Lloyd I St. Louis Public Radio

Last week we talked to state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Johnetta Elzie, two women who have been active participants and organizers of protests in Ferguson. During that conversation, some listeners were disappointed by the way the community and protesters were portrayed. Sisters Stephanie Becker and Andrea James, longtime Ferguson residents, were among those listeners, and joined us Wednesday to share their perspectives.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was helping Councilman Steve Stenger in his bid for county executive from literally the moment he started running.

McCulloch was the introductory speaker at the Affton Democrat’s campaign kickoff last year. He's contributed close to $100,000 in in-kind contributions to Stenger's campaign. And he's appeared in ads attacking incumbent St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and praising Stenger’s promise to “clean up” St. Louis County.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, right, talks to "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Many of the Ferguson residents who met with the Justice Department last week made two consistent requests: They want officials to arrest and indict Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, and for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch to recuse himself from the case. 

Police and protesters face off in Ferguson during the marches in August.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

There is a phone number that Ferguson protesters share: 314-862-2249.

That's the jail support number that they spread through Twitter and on fliers. Others write it on their arms in case of arrest.

The number goes to a hotline staffed around the clock by Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. The group gives individuals rides home from jail and raises money through a website to pay bonds. So far, it has served about 210 people, according to organizer Molly Gott.

Law Professionals Discuss Court Fines, Fees

Sep 30, 2014
People line up to take part in an amnesty program to clear up outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants in August 2013, in Ferguson, Mo.
Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations, according to documents filed with Missouri’s judicial department.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the unrest in Ferguson, and the media images of highly equipped police, the “militarization” of police departments became a hot-button public policy issue.

After traveling the state on Monday, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said law enforcement officials have told him there’s misinformation about the type of equipment used in Ferguson.

Stephanie Lecci

A federal judge in St. Louis said Monday she will rule "as soon as possible" on whether it was constitutional for police officers to prevent protesters in Ferguson from stopping and lingering on public sidewalks in August.  

Judge Catherine Perry heard more than seven hours of testimony Monday in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri against the St. Louis County Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Law Professor Explores Racism, Equality in America

Sep 29, 2014

For Columbia University law professor Patricia Williams, many of today’s societal and political problems come down to us versus them.

“Racism almost rationalizes the irrational,” said Williams, who has written several books and articles exploring racism in America and will deliver three equality related lectures this week at Washington University.

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