POST Commission members include Emanuel Cleaver III (left) and Sgt. Jeffery Hughley Jr., (center).
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri state commission tasked with developing new training and professional standards for law enforcement held a public hearing on Thursday. More than a dozen residents, elected officials and members of law enforcement took to the podium to voice their opinions in the student center at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley over the course of two hours.  

St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes points her hand like a gun as she talks about the the law governing police use of force Sunday, August 23, 2015 at Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in the annex of the Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Sunday, St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes told congregants that increased attention to African Americans shot by police has yet to translate into substantial changes to laws and policies.

The immediate past president of the National Bar Association, Meanes was the fourth speaker in the church’s lecture series on “The Ferguson Effect.” She spoke about the impact of Ferguson on the legal system.

“The legal effect on Ferguson is that we’ve shined a light on where the gaping holes are. In a year we haven’t fixed any of them,” said Meanes, a partner at Thompson Coburn. “We have debated cameras, but does Missouri have a camera law? No. We’ve debated training. Has Missouri passed a codified training program? No.”

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said police fired tear gas at protesters who blocked and refused to leave the intersection of Page and Walton.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 with information on protests, police response - St. Louis police fired tear gas and made nine arrests Wednesday night after a couple hundred protesters gathered at Page Boulevard and Walton Avenue. Earlier near the intersection, police fatally shot Mansur Ball-Bey, an 18-year-old black man who, they say, pointed a gun at officers while fleeing from a house search.

Protesters on W. Florissant Avenue dance while chanting across the street at police
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

As night fell Monday, demonstrators returned to West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson to resume their vigil after Sunday night’s police-involved shooting. 

For several hours, things were calm. People marched up and down West Florissant. Some danced to the drum circles and other chanted slogans.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

With more than a hundred homicides already this year, St. Louis is no stranger to gun violence. On July 14, a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant was ambushed while working a second, security job in the early hours of the morning. The officer survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting.  

We independently confirmed the identity of the officer with the St. Louis Police, but have granted him anonymity out of his concern for the safety of his family in order to hear his perspective on the situation.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-Defamation League leads a diversity awareness training for police cadets.
Nancy Fowler

A year of unrest and turmoil has yielded the beginnings of change in St. Louis — along with a whole lot of questions.

How do we untangle the deep, gnarly roots of racism? What is this thing called privilege? How do people of different races talk to each other about this stuff?

Local organizations that help people think through these issues report a significant increase in requests for diversity training since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

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

The four regional law enforcement agencies that responded to the events in Ferguson last year in the first 17 days after Michael Brown’s death lacked protocols, consistent training and policing philosophies, according to a draft summary of a Justice Department report.

Ferguson protest 3/12/2015
Lawrence Bryant | St. Louis American

African Americans who live near where Michael Brown was shot showed a sharp decrease in how much they trust police and believe in their legitimacy in the weeks after Brown’s death, according to a survey by a criminologist at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Meanwhile, white residents who live near the shooting showed no decrease in support for police. In fact, there was a slight uptick in how much they trust police.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of We Live Here we introduce you to four police officers who discuss not only what life is like during the day-to-day grind of work, but also the question of whether or not race makes a difference for African-American officers in majority white police departments.

The reason we are presenting the police perspective to you is that we feel it's a point of view that hasn't received enough attention. And that's not just our idea.

St. Louis County Crisis Intervention Team officers respond to as many as 60 calls per week involving a person with a mental health issue, according to Sgt. Jeremy Romo.
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Do police do enough to de-escalate encounters with people who may be mentally ill? Why do police use guns against a person with possible mental health issues who is armed with only a knife?

These are questions that seem to crop up after any incident in which police use deadly force against someone who seems to suffer from mental health issues. They arose last week after the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness in Jennings, and after the death of Kajieme Powell last year in St. Louis.

The shooting of Walter Scott

The police killing of Walter Scott in South Carolina looks like an open and shut case of murder. But South Carolina, like Missouri and many other states, has confusing laws on police use of deadly force — laws that could provide Officer Michael Slager with a defense, experts say.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

We Live Here spent the last several weeks ramping up to explore race in St. Louis and, specifically, how systems intersect with people to create  a lot of the inequality in our region ... and around the country.

Now, we are moving from the general to the specific. We will spend the next several months exploring the criminal justice system.

Chief Jon Belmar said police questioned three people regarding the shootings but they did not turn up any suspects
file photo by Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a Jennings man dead.

Thaddeus McCarroll, 23, was shot and killed by an officer on the St. Louis County police tactical team around 11:30 p.m. Friday night after allegedly charging at the officers with a knife.

A Taser, with cartridge removed, making an electric arc between its two electrodes
jasonesbain | Wikipedia

About four months before the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, police less than 15 miles down I-70 in St. Charles shot another man named Brown. The event barely drew any attention from anyone except immediate family and friends.

(St. Louis County Police)

For the first time in its 55 years, the St. Louis County police department is taking part of its recruitment process on the road.

Anyone who wants to enter the county's police academy has to pass a written test and a physical evaluation, as well as meet certain other criteria. Those tests are usually offered only at the academy building in Wellston, but this weekend, they'll both be offered at a neutral site.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Ferguson may already be having an impact on how officials elsewhere respond to incidents involving racial tensions. 

That's the opinion of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that "the fact that lessons have been learned from what happened in Ferguson is a terrific legacy for this event that obviously ripped us apart in St. Louis.”

One lesson officials appear to have learned is the important of a quick, decisive response.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

The Ferguson police department and municipal court engaged in such a widespread pattern of unconstitutional conduct that it lost the trust of the people, the Justice Department concluded after a seven-month investigation.

The federal civil rights case that the Justice Department is unveiling against the Ferguson Police Department offers the town great opportunities but also poses substantial costs and risks, experts say.

Jason Rojas | Flickr

WASHINGTON — Brittany Packnett, the St. Louis area educator and activist on President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, says the work of implementing the panel’s recommendations begins now that she’s back home.

gavel court justice

Updated Feb. 25

St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce has withdrawn her subpoena of St. Louis Public Radio. The station was subpoenaed at the end of January after a conflict broke out during a Public Safety Committee hearing at St. Louis City Hall.