Since Saturday’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louisans have been trying to understand and deal with what happened.
How could a college-bound teenager with no history of violence or criminal behavior end up shot to death by a police officer in his own neighborhood? St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra and Tim Lloyd went to look for answers and to find out what people in Ferguson are doing to cope.
In the days of protests that have followed the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, one fact has been repeated over and over again: Of the 50 or so police officers on the Ferguson Police Department, just three are African-American.
That means a majority white police force patrols a community that, according to the 2012 census estimates, is two-thirds black.
Protesters are greeted by a wall of police officers after a march to the Ferguson police department on August 11, 2014. People are upset because of the Ferguson Police shooting and death of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. In all about 20 businesses sustained damage after a candlelight vigil turned violent.
The calls for greater representation of minorities in the region's law enforcement ranks have grown louder in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer. Protesters want to see more minorities especially in the police departments serving predominantly African-American communities.
Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, according to 2013 census records. But there are only three African Americans on the city’s 53-member police force. The city council is also predominantly white, as is the mayor.
In 1990, the population of the Spanish Lake community in north St. Louis County was 80 percent white and 20 percent black. By 2010, the population was reversed: 80 percent was black and 20 percent was white. Today, much of the township lies empty.
In what is being called an “unflinching” documentary, film director Phillip Andrew Morton takes a look at the causes of this population shift in the film "Spanish Lake.” It premieres Friday, June 13 at the Tivoli Theatre.
The Washington Post has released a project this week entitled "Gun suicide and homicide: statistics shaped by race." In the project's interactive graphic, Missouri is listed, along with Washington, D.C. as the state/area with the highest rate of black homicide death in the nation. Explore more of the Post's work in this project via the link.
America's pattern of gun deaths is split across black and white, with the vast majority of whites dying from suicide and a similar proportion of blacks dying from homicide. A similar split occurs with more homicide in diverse urban cities and more suicide in the rural areas that are predominantly white.
Congressman Lacy Clay of St. Louis says the federal government may soon be able to help local police as they try to combat crime in some parts of the city.
The St. Louis Police Department has recently reassigned some officers to so-called “hot spots” where violent crime continues to be a problem. Clay says there should be announcements in the next few months about combined federal-and-local crime-fighting efforts.
A federal lawsuit claims a white St. Louis County fire supervisor was retaliated against for refusing to "dig up dirt" on two black employees.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the U.S. Attorney's office filed the suit against the Robertson Fire Protection District on behalf of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The suit alleges that in 2004 or 2005, Chief David Tilley called then-Battalion Chief Steve Wilson into his office and used a racial slur when telling him to go through the computers of the black employees.
Updated 12:34 p.m. with link to full report and information about 2010 data.
Black motorists are stopped by Missouri law officers at an increasingly disproportionate rate.
An annual report released Friday by the attorney general found black drivers were 72 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2011. Black drivers were stopped 2.5 times more often than Hispanic drivers.