Voters on Tuesday substantially boosted the number of African-Americans on the City Council in the first municipal election since the St. Louis County suburb found itself at the center of a national debate about how police interact with black residents.
Ferguson has just one black member on its six-person council, even though African-Americans make up about two-thirds of residents. The lone black member, Dwayne James, is not up for re-election.
But voters elected Ella Jones and Wesley Bell — both African-Americans — to open seats, along with Brian Fletcher, who is white.
Last August, a white police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed. The shooting sparked violent protests and spawned a national “Black Lives Matter” movement.
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It also prompted a review by the U.S. Justice Department, which decided not to prosecute the police officer. But the federal department released a scathing report blasting the city for racial bias and profiling in the Police Department and a profit-driven municipal court system. Several city officials resigned following the review, including the city manager, police chief and municipal judge. The municipal court clerk was fired for racist emails. The new council will hire the replacements.