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FERGUSON, Mo. – Tuesday marks eight years since Michael Brown Jr. was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

On August 9, 2014, Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black man, was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson following an altercation. Police documents from 2014 allege Brown was killed after he was suspected of stealing from a local convenience store.

Brown’s death raised national attention to police brutality and racial inequality in the United States during the early stages of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. His death led to weeks of protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, including violent confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement.

Months later, on Nov. 24, 2014, a St. Louis County grand jury decided against an indictment for Wilson, who claimed he shot Brown in self-defense. The ruling came after testimonies of Wilson and of Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time he was fatally shot. After the ruling, protests began peacefully in Ferguson but turned violent in the late-evening hours.

In response, then-President Barack Obama condemned violence over the ruling, but acknowledged a “legacy of racial discrimination in this country” and stated there are “lessons that we draw from these tragic events.” Five days after the ruling, Wilson announced his resignation from the Ferguson Police Department.

Later on, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell and the U.S. Department of Justice formally announced charges would not be filed against Wilson in the incident. Bell, who was elected in 2018, has established an independent unit to investigate officer-involved shootings, a division that spent five months looking at Brown’s death.

The Civil Rights Division reviewed more than 35,000 pages of police records prior to the decision to not charge Wilson with a civil rights violation in 2015. However, investigations determined deep racial issues within the Ferguson Police Department and the court system.

Municipal court reform would follow after a federal report found the Ferguson Police Department had a pattern of racial bias and unreasonable force against Black people. At least six Ferguson employees resigned or were fired following the Department of Justice report.

By the end of 2015, Ferguson hired a new municipal judge and interim city manager and the Ferguson Commission had released a report addressing the economic and racial factors that contributed to the unrest after Brown’s death. In 2017, a federal judge in St. Louis approved a wrongful-death lawsuit settlement that awarded $1.5 million to Brown’s parents.

Brown’s death also took on new life after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May 2020, when a police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Protests were organized in Ferguson and hundreds of U.S. cities over racial discrimination in connection with Floyd’s death.

Eight years after Brown’s death, the Michael Brown Chosen For Change Foundation has planned several events in memory of Michael Brown, including an inaugural fundraiser and gala held over the weekend.