oppressed people of color.”
FERGUSON, Mo. — Several new city leaders will be on the front lines in 10 days when the #BlackLivesMatter spotlight returns here Aug. 9, the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death.
Interim Police Chief Andre Anderson started work July 22, taking a six-month leave of absence from his job at the Glendale, Ariz., Police Department in suburban Phoenix. Interim City Manager Ed Beasley was hired June 9 after working in Glendale from 2002 to 2012.
Both are black, better reflecting the population of this St. Louis suburb of 21,000 residents, which is more than two-thirds African American. Two black City Council members were elected in April, joining one previously serving on the six-member council.
The Missouri Supreme Court also assigned Judge Roy Richter to Ferguson Municipal Court on March 9 after the U.S. Justice Department released a report describing a profit-driven municipal court system, expected to generate a quarter of the city budget through fines and fees, that heightened tensions between the city's primarily white police department and its mostly black residents.
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And all of the city officials know that any missteps as protesters mark the anniversary of Brown's death will receive national attention.
"I've asked the police department to adopt four things as we start: We want to embrace professionalism, we want to embrace respect, we want to embrace community engagement and we want to make the community safer," Anderson said.
Just since the start of this year, at least 664 people have died at the hands of police, including at least 174 blacks, according to a Guardian database. The British newspaper has been gathering data through news reports to count deaths caused by law-enforcement officers across the USA.
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Protesters say they plan to commemorate Brown's death all weekend.
“The racial disparities in police shootings have caused our community to take a stand for black lives,” Kayla Reed of Organization for Black Struggle said in a statement. “One year later we continue to grow and organize to transform a system that has for too long oppressed people of color.”
On Aug. 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, saw saw two black men — Brown, 18, and his friend Dorian Johnson, 22 at the time — walking in the middle of a Ferguson street after hearing dispatchers describe suspects who stole packages of cigarillos from a convenience store several blocks away. Wilson and Brown, who was unarmed, got into an altercation a little after noon that day, and the officer fired 12 shots at Brown, fatally injuring him.