Five Years after the Killing of Mike Brown, the Ferguson Uprising, a New Report Highlights a Group of Ferguson, MO, Activists Successfully Working Since 2014 to Change Policing Practices and Rise to Positions of Authority - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Five Years after the Killing of Mike Brown, the Ferguson Uprising, a New Report Highlights a Group of Ferguson, MO, Activists Successfully Working Since 2014 to Change Policing Practices and Rise to Positions of Authority

FERGUSON, MO – As the nation marks five years since the police killing of teenager Mike Brown and the series of protests known as the Ferguson Uprising, a report released today by Advancement Project National Office points to how a hyperlocal group of Ferguson activists have been changing the City’s unconstitutional policing and criminal legal system practices. This group of residents and allies, now known as the Ferguson Collaborative, have spent the past 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 – including the Ferguson City Council.

The report, “The Genius of Ordinary People: How the Ferguson Collaborative Became the Voice of the Community,” points to how community members empowered themselves to take the lead in reimagining justice – and seeing it come to fruition. Further, the report details how group members risked their lives and livelihoods, worked with a reluctant Department of Justice to hold accountable the City of Ferguson and federal government, and demand transformative change.

“As freedom fighter and civil rights activist Ella J. Baker said, ‘strong people don’t need strong leaders.’ Advancement Project National Office believes in the genius of ordinary people and their power to build movements without asking permission. The Ferguson Collaborative has done just that,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “What the Ferguson Collaborative has done, and is doing, must be considered as a model for communities of color across the country on being heard, seen and taken seriously.”

Since the killing of Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in 2014, the Ferguson Collaborative has worked to add the community’s voice to the consent decree process – a lengthy procedure that typically does not allow community-member input at court hearings. Ferguson Collaborative members, with legal advice from Advancement Project, won the right to testify in federal court, created a community-based process to appoint a monitor for the DOJ consent decree and shone a spotlight on irrational spending and lack of accountability by an assigned court monitor.

“We’re proud to support the Ferguson Collaborative’s remarkable accomplishments and have been thrilled to partner with them since the Uprising, offering guidance, listening to their needs and helping them advocate for their demands in court,” said Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Director for Advancement Project National Office. “This report is an effort to detail the extreme measures the Ferguson Collaborative went to in the name of public safety – real public safety vs putting more cops in streets – and is a testament to how communities can build power. And the fight is not over.”

The Ferguson Collaborative was first a group of like-minded residents and allies angered by the killing of Brown. They understood that the police killing, the unjust policing that took place during the months of protest, and the arrests of innocent people that occurred were all part of structural racism. The all-volunteer group is made up of generations of residents who have regularly attended City Council meetings, Neighborhood Police Steering Committees, county meetings and town halls to demand change. The group of neighbors and allies banned together to impact an extremely reluctant DOJ to change the review standard to dismiss municipal court cases ,unencumbering Ferguson residents who needlessly faced fines, fees, arrests, and potential jail time.

“The events of August 9, 2014, and its aftermath have reminded me that we not only have wealth and educational inequities in Ferguson but a pervasive racism that is not only in us as individuals but in our social structures,” John Powell, Ferguson Collaborative Member says in the 28-page report.

In total, the Ferguson Collaborative’s advocacy and activism included

  • holding the city of Ferguson accountable to the consent decree;
  • conducting a community survey and shared the results with the DOJ;
  • winning a seat on the Ferguson City Council
  • pushing for the Ferguson prosecutor to be fired;
  • winning the dismissal 3,000 of unjust cases in Ferguson’s municipal court.

Download the report at https://advancementproject.org/resources/ferguson-after-five/.

###

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

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

KEEP READING

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

CONTACT Alex Jordan [email protected] 404-558-3581 WASHINGTON – Today, in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, leaders from the Advancement Project National Office—a multi-racial civil rights organization—issued the following statements:  “We welcome today’s verdict in the hopes that it might bring a modicum of peace and healing to George Floyd’s family and friends, who have suffered irreparable harm and loss at the hands of Derek Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department,” said Judith Browne Dianis,…

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

CONTACT Alex Jordan [email protected] 404-558-3581 WASHINGTON – Today, in response to the police murder of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Advancement Project National Office’s Thomas B. Harvey, Program Director of the Justice Project, issued the following statement: “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. “Daunte Wright was murdered by a police officer only miles from where George Floyd…

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
We Will Continue to Fight for You, Breonna

By Advancement Project National Office Photo by Maria Oswalt via Unsplash Breonna Taylor’s name and face have been shared around the world. Her murder by Louisville Metro Police in 2020 sparked a rallying cry for racial justice online, in protests, in courtrooms and in our homes. Her story is both unlike any other and a reminder of the countless community members we’ve lost from police and political violence. Today is the anniversary of when she was taken, and her presence continues to live through her family, her legacy, and the millions of lives she’s touched. In June 2020, Advancement Project…

Read More
Esri, and the Racial Equity Anchor Institutions Partner to Launch Survey on Policing Budgets Across Country

Washington, DC – On February 25, 2021 at 10:00 am ET, the Racial Equity Anchor Institutions and Esri will host a virtual press briefing on the launch of a new initiative to survey and track policing budgets in targeted areas around the nation. The new initiative is an effort to aid communities on their journey to better engage with and potentially reimagine what public safety looks like, neighborhood by neighborhood. Interested media can register to attend by visiting https://naacpheadquarters.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eMlWidmDQgeG1qKqHWkdDg. 2020 and 2021 presented highs and lows across the country. It has been exhausting for our nation, communities, and…

Read More
Police Brutality in Rochester Proves that Police ‘Reform’ is a Myth

By Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Program Director Nothing short of police abolition will end the continued abuses of a system of policing designed to systematically oppress Black people and maintain a white supremacist status quo. Credit: Life Matters Last month, police in Rochester, New York pepper sprayed, manhandled, handcuffed and arrested a nine-year-old Black girl in obvious mental health crisis. This horrifying violence triggered a familiar and morbid routine: news coverage of this police brutality was met with strongly worded condemnations from political leaders, whose calls to reform policing were centered in the conversation; meanwhile…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Issues Statement on President Biden’s Executive Orders Addressing Racial Equity

“We acknowledge and commend the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to make racial equality a legislative priority and center piece to their agenda."

Read More
Fighting for Voting Rights is How We Honor Dr. King’s Legacy

By Jorge L. Vasquez, Jr., Program Director, Power and Democracy until every eligible voter has equal access to the polls and every voting age citizen is eligible to vote without unnecessary and unwarranted interference, there will always be citizens who, as Dr. King coined, “cannot live as a democratic citizen.” “So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind-it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact-I can only submit…

Read More