Marking the slow push against racial inequality on anniversary of Michael Brown’s death

FERGUSON, Mo. – Thursday marks the four-year anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The protests that followed the shooting and subsequent investigation became international news.

The father of Michael Brown said he’d like to see the investigation reopened. Incoming St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell may face that question when he takes the office in January 2019.

Dozens of people marked the fourth anniversary in a quiet, somber gathering along Canfield Drive in Ferguson at the spot where the 18-year-old was shot and killed. It’s an annual gathering that brings back troubling memories.

“Definitely every year it hurts, you know, because all the pain and the memories and the things that happened that day, it bounced right back like it was fresh,” said Michael Brown Sr.

In the aftermath of Brown’s death, the Ferguson Commission was established. The group made 47 recommendations to address racial inequality.

The group Forward through Ferguson has said just five of the 47 recommendations have been implanted in the last four years. One reason being blamed for a lack of progress: too many St. Louis-area governments.

“I’ve seen a few changes the police in dealing with the public,” Brown Sr. said. “As far as the community coming back together and people being unified, it’s still rocky; it needs a little bit more work.”

Some of that work falls on the shoulders of Bell, the 43-year-old Ferguson councilman who beat Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. Many Ferguson residents said Bell’s stunning political upset has given them new hope.

“I had the honor of serving on the negotiations team that worked with President Obama’s justice department, creating the Ferguson consent (decree), which brought community policing, the first African-American police chief to Ferguson, as well as some of the most broad court reform in the region,” Bell said.