ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — August 9, 2014 is a date that changed the landscape of Ferguson and the way the entire nation viewed the St Louis area. It is the day African American teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer.
Darren Wilson claimed he shot Brown in self-defense. A grand jury would later agree and decide not to charge Wilson with a crime. The protests that resulted from the way Brown's body was handled to the outcome of the grand jury sparked protests that lasted for months. Brown's death led to the live social media coverage of police shootings.
The protests sparked fires that burned Ferguson businesses to the ground. Looters ravaged small businesses. Police responded with riot gear, military-style tanks, and tear gas.
In the end, the Justice Department decided not to charge Wilson with a civil rights violation but they found deep racial issues in the court system and police department. Municipal court reform would follow. The DOJ report found the Ferguson Police Department had a pattern of racial bias and unreasonable force against African Americans.