Following Ferguson: Outrage at Last Night’s City Council Meeting

By Carla Murphy Sep 10, 2014

More than 600 people attended the first meeting held by Ferguson’s majority white city council since a police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown in early August. Shouting erupted during the Pledge of Allegiance, according to a Post-Dispatch account, at the phrase, "and justice for all." Comments reflect the community’s ongoing frustration, which had erupted over the past few weeks into street protests before a highly militarized police force that captured global media attention. Council members did not take any questions during the "constant barrage," the Post-Dispatch reports, and had arrived an hour before the meeting with police escorts. From The New York Times:

"You are now on notice," [Shelly] Gradford said. "It is evident that residents of Ferguson have for a long time been harassed. This must end."

John Chasnoff of nearby University City told the officials that they had become the "face of structural racism."

"You’ve lost your authority to govern this community," Mr. Chasnoff said. "You’re going to have to step aside gracefully if this community is going to heal."

Reforms announced this week were read into the record without debate. They will be voted on at a later date. But the impending changes did little to quell the audience’s anger last night, or relieve residents’ sadness.

Held at a local church, the meeting ended around 10 p.m. after nearly two hours of public comment with words of counsel to council members from Bishop L.O. Jones: "You didn’t answer any questions tonight. Let’s be honest. It’s time for change."

Protesters according to the Post-Dispatch are planning to shut down I-70 on Wednesday afternoon in reaction to Gov. Jay Nixon’s refusal to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the police killing of Brown.