Ferguson, MO, Residents Demand City Council Rescinds Renewal of City Manager’s Contract - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Ferguson, MO, Residents Demand City Council Rescinds Renewal of City Manager’s Contract

Grassroots activist group, Ferguson Collaborative, rallies against Jeffrey Blume despite City Council turning up its nose

FERGUSON, MO – The Ferguson Collaborative is leading a group of civil rights organizations in calling for the City of Ferguson to rescind and remove its current city manager over his policies that disproportionately impact people of color. In partnership with Advancement Project National Office and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ferguson Collaborative is also calling for a more transparent and inclusive governance process for the City of Ferguson.

The demands come after a tense protest during a Feb. 25 City Council meeting when councilmembers voted in favor of extending the contract of Interim City Manager Jeffrey Blume to May 2021. The Council refused public comments from community members during the vote and used the city’s police force to barricade themselves from citizen-protestors who called for Blume’s removal from office.

“Jeffrey Blume has a history of enacting and encouraging policies that lead to the arrest of Black, Brown, and low-income residents in Ferguson. He’s encouraged the city’s police force to apprehend, detain, and fine citizens over traffic tickets all to increase revenue for the city,” said Felicia Pulliam of the Ferguson Collaborative. “Blume is not what the city needs as it continues to heal from years of police brutality, bigotry, and targeting of Black residents.”

During the meeting, audience members were wrestled to the ground by the same city police force that killed Mike Brown in 2015. Residents’ mics were cut off when they attempted to speak on the vote, and the Council closed the discussion period to rush a vote. At least one councilmember, Francesca Griffin, disagreed with the majority of the council but was unable to voice her concerns. Griffin is a founding member of the Ferguson Collaborative and has served on the City Council since January.

On the five-year anniversary of the Department of Justice’s report that called out Jeffrey Blume as the architect of these discriminatory and oppressive policies, Ferguson Councilwoman Fran Griffin commented, “The budgetary decisions made by Ferguson’s power structure show where their priorities lie:  not in helping the community, but in throwing money at optics while they continue to maintain systems of oppression behind closed doors—and sometimes in open City Council meetings. They don’t want to be called racist, but that’s what their actions in keeping the status quo are.”

Following the 2015 killing of Mike Brown by the Ferguson Police Department and the events during the Ferguson Uprising, city residents and stakeholders formed the Ferguson Collaborative to hold the City of Ferguson and the Department of Justice accountable to the people of Ferguson. The Collaborative also acts as true representatives of the people in the consent decree process—a legal agreement overseen by the Justice Department that mandates policing reforms in the city.

“Community members have a right to determine not only who they elect to office in the City of Ferguson but should also be able to have their voices heard on who is employed by the municipality,” said Thomas Harvey, Justice Project Program Director for Advancement Project National Office. “This is a core right of our democracy. What the mayor and members of the council did that night denied citizens their right to be heard.”

In August 2019, Advancement Project National Office published The Genius of Ordinary People, a report examining how the Ferguson Collaborative has spent the last five years putting the pressure on local and federal policymakers and courts, ousting a court-appointed official, rallying for the dismissal of thousands of municipal court cases, and positioning themselves in powerful seats.

###

The Ferguson Collaborative is a group of concerned stakeholders who are advocating for empowered community input into the Department of Justice’s Consent Decree negotiations and outcomes with the City of Ferguson. We advocate for fair inclusion that centralizes the voices of those most affected by unconstitutional policing in Ferguson, which truly allows for the community to shape the outcome.

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org

KEEP READING

Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons: “We Can’t Reform This System”

A year after George Floyd’s murder, Advancement Project National Office reflects on how to build a #FreeandSafe society for all people of color.

Read More
The Best Mother’s Day Gift is Freedom

By Ashley Carter, Justice Project Program Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney Photo credit: Cyndi Elledge // Photos are a part of the #FreeBlackWomxn series. Visit www.freeblackwomxn.org. Thousands of women with children across the United States will spend this Mother’s Day behind bars. The crisis of mass incarceration has fueled a family separation endemic: more than 150,000 children have a parent who is in jail simply because they are too poor to afford their court-imposed cash bail. This year we are working to support the 2021 Black Mama’s Day Bailout organized and led by our community partners…

Read More
Black Mama Bailout: #FreeBlackWomxn

Michigan Liberation and the Advancement Project National Office have launched the #FreeBlackWomxn campaign, a photo and storytelling project that elevates the voices of Black Michigan mothers who have experienced incarceration. We are honored that Kimberly, Machelle, Geneva, Darnita, Dominica, Irene, and Tamika shared their stories with us. Click each woman’s photo below to read their experience with incarceration.

Read More
Photo of the back of a police officer
More Cop Convictions Won’t Stop Racist Police Violence

By Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Program Director Last week, as people across America waited for a verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, police in Ohio murdered a 16-year-old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant. As Chauvin was found guilty on three counts for murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ma’Khia Bryant lay dead in the street in Columbus. Credit: Fred Moon While we should hope that Chauvin’s conviction brings some peace and healing to George Floyd’s family, friends, and the broader Minneapolis community, Ma’Khia’s murder reinforced a disturbing reality: individual convictions are irrelevant to the movement to end police violence. Cops will continue to…

Read More
Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Chauvin Verdict: Accountability in the Courtroom One Step in Journey to Justice

This verdict, while unexpected in light of far too many past cases like this, does not bring George Floyd back.

Read More
Advancement Project Welcomes Chauvin Verdict, Implores America to Move Beyond Policing

Today, in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter...

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Murder of Adam Toledo

Today, we join Chicago in grief and outrage at the murder of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy whose life was cruelly taken by Chicago Police. We express our deepest sympathy to Adam’s friends and family; we stand in solidarity with organizers, activists, and the broader Chicago community as they take to the street to express their despair and demand justice.

Read More
Mapping Injustice: Navigating the Criminal Legal System 101

Grassroots organizers are leading the fight to dismantle the incarceration state. In its current form, the criminal legal system criminalizes and incarcerates people of color in the name of “law and order.” In 2021, Advancement Project National Office, along with Michigan Liberation, Close the Workhouse, Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit, Detroit Justice Center, and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC), partnered to present a forum series on the various phases of a criminal case: Policing, Arrest, and Pretrial Trial, Sentencing, and Plea Negotiations Incarceration and Re-Entry During each session, organizers and lawyers mapped the…

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Daunte Wright’s Murder, Police Claims of Accidental Discharge

“We are heartbroken and outraged at the murder of Daunte Wright. We stand in solidarity with Daunte’s family and the Black and Brown Minnesotans who are sharing their grief, outrage, and disgust after police have taken the life of another Black man in their state.

Read More
Civil Rights, Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Biden’s Executive Order Aimed at Facilitating Voter Registration, Urges Robust Implementation and Tracking

Media Contact: Elana Needle Email: [email protected] The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative—the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations representing and serving more than 53 million people in the United States—applauds President Joseph R. Biden’s recent executive action to make it easier for Americans to register to vote. Signed on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the new Biden executive order requiring federal agencies to submit plans to help facilitate voter registration invokes the legacy of the 600 activists, including the late Congressman John Lewis, who were attacked by law enforcement as they attempted to…

Read More