Ferguson | KUOW News and Information

Ferguson

Editor's note: Language featured in this piece may be considered offensive to some.

With the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, "Ferguson" became shorthand for racial strife and police shootings of unarmed black men.

But years before the protests and chants of "Hands up, don't shoot," there was something amiss in the Ferguson, Mo., police department.

Before Michael Brown, there was Fred Watson.

It was two years ago this week that a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in a case that became an inflection point in the way Americans talk about race and policing.

Rev. Starsky Wilson at Seattle Public Library
Courtesy of Naomi Ishisaka Photography

Reverend Starsky Wilson was co-chair of a commission created to study the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Wilson's charge was “to address the underlying root causes that led to the unrest in the wake of Michael Brown’s death and to publish an unflinching report with transformative policy recommendations for making the region stronger and a better place for everyone to live.”

The Justice Department slapped the city of Ferguson, Mo., with a civil rights lawsuit this week after the City Council voted to change a proposed settlement agreement to reform the police and courts.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the suit on Wednesday, she said Ferguson police disproportionately targeted black people for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the city of Ferguson, Mo., for unjust policing that violates the civil and constitutional rights of citizens, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday.

The lawsuit came one day after the Ferguson City Council voted to change a proposed consent decree to reform the police and courts. The council said the package, which had been negotiated between the DOJ and city officials, cost too much.

The City of Ferguson, Mo., and the Justice Department have released a draft of the consent decree that they have negotiated.

The 127-page proposed agreement creates guidelines for training police officers on issues like when they should use force and how they can "reorient Ferguson's use-of-force policies toward de-escalation and avoiding force." The agreement also requires body-worn cameras and an overhaul of the municipal court system.

New demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., led to a standoff with police and the arrests of 23 people Monday night, one day after a vigil for Michael Brown was marred by gunfire. The arrests came as police in riot gear tried to force people to disband and leave the street.

As events marking the anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown were winding down Sunday night, gunfire erupted in Ferguson, Mo., leaving a gunman in the hospital. Police say the suspect was not part of the weekend's rallies, which have been peaceful.

The shooting, in which dozens of rounds were reportedly fired, began near the intersection of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of last summer's standoffs between protesters and police.

Marchers walk through Seattle's Central Area on the 2015 anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

People marching in a Black Lives Matter protest in Seattle on Sunday said they were upset by how a largely white crowd reacted to the disruption of Bernie Sanders’ rally the day before.

The St. Louis region became the unexpected center of an international conversation and movement for change following the death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.

St. Louis Public Radio has compiled select sounds and images of the past year, highlighting moments in history and sharing voices of newsmakers and neighbors alike. 

We invite you to take some time, reflect and put on your headphones to experience One Year in Ferguson: How it Sounded. How it Looked. How it Felt.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said two police officers were shot and seriously wounded shortly after midnight outside the Ferguson, Mo., police department. The shooting occurred as a protest outside the police station had begun to wind down.

A St. Louis County police officer and an officer from nearby Webster Groves, Mo., were shot, according to Belmar. He did not identify them by name.

The Justice Department reportedly did not find enough evidence to charge white former officer Darren Wilson with any civil rights violations for shooting Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Mo. But it did find plenty of evidence of routine discrimination by Ferguson police against black residents.

Marcie Sillman talks with Diane Langdon, who has helped organize marches to defend police officers' reputation in the wake of recent protests against police use-of-force. 

Protesters in response to the Ferguson and Eric Garner grand jury decisions converge on downtown Seattle on Dec. 4, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Scott Lum (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Rory McVeigh, director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, about how the Ferguson-inspired protests can evolve into a movement for lasting change.

Demonstrators at a Seattle march on Nov. 25, 2014, in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It hurts that yet another officer isn’t being indicted for killing an unarmed black man; especially in the case of Eric Garner where there is no ambiguity. These injustices can often make us feel demoralized. But it may seem surprising that after attending a rally on November 25, I feel inspired.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Several hundred demonstrators gathered outside Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Sunday just as the Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers was getting underway. The crowd chanted "Twelfth man can't breathe! Twelfth man can't breathe!" They were protesting recent police shootings of unarmed black civilians in Ferguson and elsewhere.

Protesters in a march to the federal courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the day after a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson for Michael Brown's death.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Ross Reynolds talks with Lisa Daugaard, policy director for the Public Defender Association in Seattle, about business organizations' petitions for the city to require protesters to get permits first.

Seattle Police guard a building during protests on Dec. 6, 2014, in response to the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.
Flickr Photo/Scott Lum (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole about the police's response to recent Seattle protests to suspected racial bias in policing. 

Protestors rally Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo.Protestors rally Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo.
AP Photo/Sid Hastings

Seattle attorney Jeff Robinson recently addressed a gathering at the University Of Washington School Of Law. It had been just over a week since a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Robinson titled his talk "You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching: The Killing of Michael Brown and the Transparent Grand Jury Investigation." 

Political protest mixed with holiday festivities in Salem Wednesday.

African-American clergy, academics and activists will hold a march on Washington this week, protesting the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City and call on the federal government to intervene in the prosecutions of police officers accused of unjustified use of force.

Protesters in response to the Ferguson and Eric Garner grand jury decisions converge on downtown Seattle on Dec. 4, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Scott Lum (CC-BY-NC-ND)

  What did the Seattle protests accomplish? There were plenty to look at. We’ll separate Westlake Christmas tree chants from anarchist rocks. Also, with the Harvard Exit movie theater closing and the Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker ending, is Seattle losing its soul? And just how clean will the Duwamish River get (and how gentrified will its riverbanks become)?

Bill Radke reviews the news with Eli Sanders, Knute Berger and Joni Balter. Plus, KUOW EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn.

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle-King County NAACP President Gerald Hankerson about police reform in Seattle in the wake recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Marcie Sillman talks with Jon Scholes, chief executive officer of the Downtown Seattle Association, about how local businesses are reacting to continued post-Ferguson protests in Seattle.

About 200 people marching through downtown Seattle disrupted black Friday holiday shopping and the city’s traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

They marched in the rain, blocking intersections and streets, in protest of a Missouri grand jury’s decision this week to not indict a police officer who fatally shot a black teenager.

The protesters flooded into Westlake shopping center, taking over escalators and lying down on the floor. Seattle police ultimately turned shoppers away.

The Ferguson Public Library is just a block away from the center of demonstrations at the Ferguson Police Department. As we've reported, when violent protests this week led to the burning of more than a dozen businesses and the uncertainty caused schools to close, the library stayed open.

People in several Northwest cities raised their voices in protest Tuesday over a grand jury's decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown an unarmed black 18-year-old.

On Monday night, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch delivered the news that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown. And in an unusual move, the announcement was accompanied by the release of an enormous batch of evidence presented to the grand jury — including much-talked-about photos of Wilson, taken after he shot and killed Brown.

Demonstrators at a Seattle march on Nov. 25, 2014, in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

For the second consecutive day, several hundred protesters marched through Seattle streets Tuesday. The marches come in response to Monday’s grand jury verdict in Ferguson. As KUOW’s Liz Jones reports, many protesters in Seattle see this as a highly local issue.

Is Seattle Any Different Than Ferguson?

Nov 25, 2014
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones
Liz Jones / KUOW

“Hands up, don’t shoot,” protesters chanted, their hands up as they streamed down Seattle streets on Monday night and Tuesday. “Black lives matter.”

They were protesting a Missouri grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown. As they protested, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray held a news conference, saying the city is committed to the goals of racial and social justice.

"We are failing our young African-American men," he said.

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