Tweets chronicle disastrous Ferguson City Council meeting

Citizens flooded the first city council meeting since the Ferguson protests.

 

Aja Romano

Tech

Published Sep 10, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 2:56 pm CDT

“What about Mike Brown?”

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It was one of the first questions posed at last night’s tense city council meeting in Ferguson, Mo.—the first meeting since protests began a month ago over the death of Mike Brown.

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Protestor vehicle. Dedication. Protest. #Ferguson http://t.co/YwVILoJ1da pic.twitter.com/HJdXTBxYwE

— deray mckesson (@deray) September 10, 2014

Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown six times, is still on paid administrative leave according to the city council. Not only is Wilson on paid leave, but the city is also paying for a security detail for Wilson, who is in hiding as he awaits a grand jury hearing on whether to file charges in the case. But with the grand jury reportedly delayed until mid-October, tensions in Ferguson are as high as they were a month ago.

One #Ferguson citizen, arrested during protest, says “the ironic thing is, I spent more time in jail than Darrin Wison.” Cheers erupt.

— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) September 10, 2014

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Community members attended the meeting at local Greater Grace Church after passing through metal detectors.

Metal detectors for the #Ferguson council meeting. They know tensions are still high as hell. #Justiceformikebrown pic.twitter.com/mONxkX3oGC

— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) September 9, 2014

The crowd at Ferguson City council meeting. #Justiceformikebrown pic.twitter.com/yT7CINtDgZ

— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) September 9, 2014

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Initial demonstrations including attendees raising their hands in the by-now familiar ‘don’t shoot’ gesture.

Crowd just said the pledge of allegiance. NOT US. After, the crowd repeated the “ALL” in ‘liberty & justice for all’. #FergusonCCM

— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) September 10, 2014

Interesting moment at Ferguson City Council mtng. Following pledge of allegiance, a rumbling chorus of “Justice For All” rose from audience

— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) September 10, 2014

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“We’re fired up and can’t take it no more!” – chants at first council meeting since Mike Brown’s shooting.

— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) September 10, 2014

Once the meeting began, the council proceeded with routine business instead of immediately discussing the Darren Wilson case. This proved difficult when the council and Mayor James Knowles III ignored many of the audience’s pressing questions about the case.

The bizarre image of a city council not answering questions ranks up there with riot cops pointing assault rifles at people with hands up.

— Chris King (@chriskingstl) September 10, 2014

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Crowd is already getting PISSED because James Knowles said comments will not be answered. #FergusonCCM

— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) September 10, 2014

Council reading non-Mike Brown business. Some in audience fuming. Property ordinance. Building code. “What about Mike Brown?!”

— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) September 10, 2014

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When asked again by one citizen why #Ferguson council won’t respond to comments, Mayor says they’ll have town halls for conversations. Boos.

— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) September 10, 2014

Although the council called for “respect” from the audience, the agenda remained tense as the council continued to ignore questions.

People flipped out when the Mayor said that he wants people to “respect” the investigative process. Flipped out. #Ferguson

— deray mckesson (@deray) September 10, 2014

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STL Alderwoman Tyus is pressing about definition of excessive force. STL Chief does not answer. #Ferguson

— deray mckesson (@deray) September 10, 2014

Resident asks if #DarrenWilson still being paid, #Ferguson mayor refuses to answer. #FergusonCCM

— Camille (@cam_becks) September 10, 2014

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When the mayor attempted to state that Ferguson police had no jurisdiction to arrest Wilson, the crowd erupted with anger:

When asked again by one citizen why #Ferguson council won’t respond to comments, Mayor says they’ll have town halls for conversations. Boos.

— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) September 10, 2014

Among the questions raised at the council was the issue of the newly-announced citizen’s review board. Though the intent of the review board is to allow citizens a means of overseeing the police force, concerns abound over the lack of transparency around the formation of the board, which may actually be illegal.

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Resident:”you presented a bill for a civilian review board without once consulting the residents so how is it passed?” #FergusonCCM

— trillAry Klinton (@trillaryklinton) September 10, 2014

Lynch showed me draft of the citizens review board and said it was weak, primarily cause it had no subpoena power: pic.twitter.com/EF5C65RFwG

— Jason Rosenbaum (@jrosenbaum) September 10, 2014

Supporters of the Ferguson protest movement who followed the meeting online were quick to point out that one of the councilwomen is former police officer Kim Tihen. She was previously sued for beating up a civilian, who was then arrested for bleeding on officers’ shirts.

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This is councilwoman, former cop, who beat a man and then ferguson charged him for getting blood on her uniform. pic.twitter.com/YFsrTpLqc4

— mervyn marcano (@britrican) September 10, 2014

Council members look at papers while woman talks. She yells, “disrespectful!” #Ferguson

— deray mckesson (@deray) September 10, 2014

Woman to #Ferguson City Council: “You don’t care that my constitutional rights were violated?” #FergusonCCM pic.twitter.com/NHPsWGPlpg

— Tyson (@tysonmanker) September 10, 2014

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Others pointed out how disparate the council, which consists of five white members and one Latino member, was from the audience, many of whom shared stories of their own arrests during the Ferguson protests.

Cops giggling in the back as this woman talks of being shot at during protests by cops without name tags. #FergusonCCM

— mervyn marcano (@britrican) September 10, 2014

“This is white supremacy at this table. They have the privilege to seperate themselves from our reality.” #FergusonCCM speaker

— Cassandra Poe (@cassiepoe) September 10, 2014

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A member of the community, Twitter user @TrillaryKlinton, was prominently featured on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for “rushing the stage” after the Mayor refused to answer the question about whether Wilson was still on paid leave.

Woman rushes stage when #Ferguson mayor wouldn’t answer why officer had not been arrested. #MikeBrown pic.twitter.com/BK3Qzyz5zo

— Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) September 10, 2014

A video which captured the moment shows the woman striding up to the stage and shouting along with a group of other people before being ushered back to her seat on the front row. After the article, she spoke out about what she felt was a mischaracterization:

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@lmaibes @kodacohen that is me. And I did not rush the stage. I was sitting in the front row in front of the stage. Great angle 😒

— trillAry Klinton (@trillaryklinton) September 10, 2014

The angle of the picture makes it seem as if I was being tamed. No,I stood up calmly, wearing a floor-length dress. I’m not rushing anywhere

— trillAry Klinton (@trillaryklinton) September 10, 2014

Instead of depicting me as the typical “angry black woman” why not ask where that anger stems from?

— trillAry Klinton (@trillaryklinton) September 10, 2014

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As cameras rolled on the meeting, the voices of frustrated Ferguson citizens spread across the Internet. Among these were members of Lost Voices, a youth advocacy group formed in the wake of Brown’s death:

Despite the tension, there was one positive movement, as the council passed ordinances designed to address some of the problems the town faces in the aftermath of the protests:

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Audience cheers for ordinances 7061, 7062, 7963 which strikes court fines, establishes citizen review board.

— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) September 10, 2014

But while the council meeting was a necessary step forward, not everyone was satisfied.

“City Council ain’t do sh*t tonight. They did nothing.” – protestor reflecting on meeting #Ferguson

— deray mckesson (@deray) September 10, 2014

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First speaker says the next step if for every single #Ferguson resident to register to vote. And then vote. pic.twitter.com/t6PCAMG2li

— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) September 10, 2014

Joshua Williams: “We’re going to be out there until we get Justice.” pic.twitter.com/HLJyP9W6WE

— Jason Rosenbaum (@jrosenbaum) September 10, 2014

The protests in Ferguson continued today, with residents staging a shutdown at a city intersection. Police reportedly arrested at least two people.

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Photo via Shawn Semmler/Flickr; CC BY SA 2.0

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*First Published: Sep 10, 2014, 7:53 pm CDT