By Lois Beckett for The Guardian – Ferguson protest leader Darren Seals was found dead early Tuesday morning in a car that had been set on fire. Seals had been shot, and St Louis County police said they were investigating his death as a homicide. The 29-year-old’s death sent waves of shock and grief through the community of activists in Missouri who protested the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. “We have lost a great champion of civil rights in our community,” said Bassem Masri, a friend who had live-streamed the Ferguson protests, sometimes with Seals walking behind him to protect him as he filmed.
By Mariah Stewart and Ryan J. Reilly for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — Officials in St. Louis County have issued warrants for the arrest of at least 47 individuals charged in connection with the August 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, a Huffington Post review of court records has found. But the law that county officials are using to prosecute those protesters — some of whom were originally arrested while standing on the sidewalk — should have come off the books in 1987, when the Supreme Court struck down a similar ordinance as unconstitutional.
By Mariah Stewart for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — After pressure from the media and community activists, Ferguson’s relentless part-time head prosecutor Stephanie Karr has announced her resignation. In a letter to city officials Monday, Karr wrote that she would resign with a “heavy heart,” saying the decision was “thoughtfully deliberated” with family and colleagues, but ultimately hers alone. “I have greatly enjoyed my work with the city of Ferguson,” Karr wrote.
By J. Weston Phippen for The Atlantic – The Ferguson, Missouri, City Council reversed its previous position and voted Tuesday night to accept the changes to its courts and police departments that were recommended by the U.S. Justice Department in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a police officer. The council voted unanimously, 6-to-0, to accept the Justice Department’s changes, and likely spared itself from an expensive legal battle.
By Sharmini Peries for The Real News – On February 9 of 2016, after 20 minutes of a jury deliberation, Ferguson civil liberties protester Rev. Sekou was found not guilty on charges stemming from an arrest back in September of 2014, during the Ferguson uprisings. Rev. Sekou was detained when he knelt in prayer outside a local police department where police officers claimed that he was resisting orders. On to talk about his ordeal and what it means for the democratic right of civil disobedience and the right to protest is the man himself, Rev. Sekou. Rev. Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, pastor, theologian, and of course a political activist. Rev. Sekou, good to have you back on the Real News.
By Ryan J. Reilly for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON — The Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday in an effort to end what it described as patterns of constitutional violations by the city’s police department and municipal court. The decision comes one day after Ferguson rejected a negotiated deal that would have set the St. Louis suburb on a path toward reforming its police department.
By Ryan J. Reilly and Mariah Stewart for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — A sweeping proposed agreement between the Justice Department and Ferguson, Missouri, would bring big changes to way the city’s police department and municipal court have operated, in an attempt to end the unconstitutional practices that had severely damaged the relationship between officers and members of the community. If adopted, the agreement would mandate extensive officer training; make several revisions to the municipal code to eliminate statutes that police used to abuse the city’s most vulnerable residents…
By Mariah Stewart for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — Charges against six people arrested at a vigil remembering the 2014 police killing of teenager Michael Brown were dropped Thursday by a prosecutor without explanation. Ferguson prosecutor Stephanie Karr, who isn’t known for leniency in dealing with Ferguson demonstrators and is facing at least one ethics complaint, withdrew the charges in a handwritten letter as trial was about to begin. The six defendants, who had been held for trial in earlier preliminary hearings, exchanged hugs and smiles.
By Tom Hall for WSWS – FBI Director James Comey admitted in testimony last week before the House Judiciary Committee that the agency conducted surveillance flights over mass protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland over the past year, at the request of local police departments. Comey’s remarks confirmed an earlier Associated Press report revealing the FBI’s extensive use of secret flyovers throughout the country. The hearing itself, mislabeled as being dedicated to the “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” was a further indication of the ability of government agencies like the FBI to carry out illegal mass surveillance against the American population with impunity.
By Ben Forstenzer for U.S. Uncut – In the last 10 days, five black churches have been set on fire in the St. Louis area. And unlike the last wave of black church fires this summer in which weather played a role in some of the fires, these all appear to be the work of arsonists. The lack of media coverage about these fires is highly-noticeable, given the media’s hyper-intensive coverage of rioters in Baltimore setting fire to a CVS earlier this year. “It is arson,” St. Louis Fire Department captain Garon Mosby told Fox 2 Saint Louis. “These are being intentionally set.” This most recent wave of church fires are taking place in North St. Louis, near Ferguson, where racial tensions have been particularly high since the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. The department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is investigating the arsons.