TIME Crime

Ferguson’s Interim Police Chief Was Suspended 3 Times in the Past

Andre Anderson Wesley Bell ferguson
Jeff Roberson—AP Andre Anderson, left, speaks with Ferguson City Council member Wesley Bell after being introduced as the the interim chief of the Ferguson Police Department during a news conference on July 22, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.

While he has received glowing reviews overall, there's a glaring blemish on his record

Troubling questions are swirling around the man hired to help fix the scandal-plagued Ferguson police department.

Andre Anderson — a veteran Arizona cop and the interim chief of the Ferguson Police Department — was previously suspended three times in one year, the news website Vocativ found through a Freedom of Information Act request. He also had an order of protection against him and was accused of falsifying official documents, Vocativ said.

Anderson is on a six-month break from his post as police commander in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale — using vacation and then unpaid leave for his time off.

Anderson was hired …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME 2016 Election

Why Democrats Are Struggling With Black Lives Matter

Bernie Sanders black lives matters seattle
Elaine Thompson—AP Marissa Johnson, left, speaks as Mara Jacqueline Willaford stands with her and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands nearby as the two women take over the microphone at a rally on Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle.

The party's presidential candidates have had difficulty connecting with protesters

Hillary Clinton’s campaign stop in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday was billed as a community discussion on substance abuse. But some of the attendees had other matters on their minds.

Five members of the Black Lives Matter movement showed up to buttonhole the Democratic frontrunner about the tough-on-crime policies Clinton promoted during her husband’s presidency. Arriving late, they were barred from entering the packed forum at a local middle school—a decision made by the local fire marshal, according to the Clinton campaign. When the event was over, the former Secretary of State met privately with the activists.

The meeting had mixed results. “She was projecting that what the Black Lives Matter movement needs to do is X,Y and Z,” Julius Jones, a founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Worcester, Mass., told the New Republic, which broke the news of the planned disruption. “We pushed back [to say] that it is not her place to tell the Black Lives Matter movement or black people what to do, and that the real work doesn’t lie in the victim-blaming that that implies. And that was a rift in the conversation.”

It was also a reflection of the ongoing struggle of Democratic presidential candidates to connect with a protest movement that is only gaining steam a year after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo. Activists have criticized each of the top Democratic candidates for failing to make the flaws of the U.S. justice system a significant part of their campaigns. At times, the friction has spilled into public view.

Members of Black Lives Matter have twice interrupted public events held by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose peevish reaction to the disruptions stoked tensions further. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley drew jeers when he responded to protesters at Netroots Nation in July by proclaiming that “all lives matter,” which activists think undercuts their message. Clinton angered activists in June by using the same phrase at a Missouri church near Ferguson, where protests to commemorate Brown’s death sparked another spasm of violence in recent days.

The uneasy relationship between the potential Democratic standard-bearers and a pillar of the party’s electoral coalition carries significant consequences. A linchpin of the Democratic blueprint for holding the White House is repeating the success Barack Obama enjoyed with black voters. In 2012, Obama was lifted to victory by the historic black turnout, which surpassed the percentage of white voters for the first time since the Census Bureau began tracking such figures in 1996. But without Obama at the top of the ticket in recent mid-term elections, Democrats have failed to muster the same enthusiasm among blacks. Democratic strategists acknowledge a dip in the community’s voting rate in 2016 would dent the party’s chances.

Members of the Black Lives Matter movement say that is a distinct possibility, depending on whether the Democratic nominee can repair a frayed relationship. “We are going to have very clear demands,” says Brittany Packnett, an educator and activist. “If those aren’t met, you may see people behaving in alternative ways. People may not show up to vote.”

In the activists’ eyes, each of the candidates must overcome checkered records on criminal justice. The 1994 crime bill signed by Clinton’s husband consigned a generation of blacks to lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent crimes. As mayor of Baltimore and later as governor, O’Malley took a zero-tolerance approach to community policing, sparking tensions that exploded into rioting last spring when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of injuries sustained in police custody. Sanders touts his record of civil-rights activism, but as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he voted for the 1994 crime bill. Now a senator from an overwhelmingly white state, his campaign has largely focused on economic rather than racial inequality.

“There’s something insufficient about all of them,” says one activist associated with Black Lives Matter.

The candidates are taking steps to convince the movement they are allies, not adversaries. Senior officials with each of the campaigns have initiated discussions with prominent figures in the movement, such as Packnett, who was tapped by the Obama Administration to serve on a White House task force studying police reform, and DeRay McKesson, one of its most visible figures. Clinton delivered a speech on justice reform that acknowledged and denounced “the inequities that persist in our justice system.” Sanders hired a well-respected black organizer and unveiled a new criminal justice-plan this week.

O’Malley has done perhaps the most to make criminal justice a centerpiece of his platform. He has called for a constitutional amendment to protect each citizen’s voting rights. And he recently released a detailed criminal-justice platform that calls for body cameras, national use-of-force standards, better data collection on police shootings and an end to mandatory minimums for drug crimes, among other reforms. Democrats, he explained in an interview with Ebony, can’t expect to marshal “a large and diverse coalition if we’re not able to speak to the concerns of everyone within that coalition.” But O’Malley must square that rhetoric with a record of tough-on-crime policies. When he cut short a European trip to return to his scarred hometown during the riots, some Baltimore residents reacted with boos.

“All three candidates have responded to the movement in some way,” Mckesson says. “Their rhetoric has caught up.” But activists are still waiting to see how talk translates into policy.

Read next: This Photographer Shows What It Means to Be a Cop Today

Listen to the most important stories of the day

TIME Crime

Ferguson Police Release Video Showing Moments Before Anniversary Shooting

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 09: In this handout provided by the St. Louis County Police Department, video surveillance taken from Solo Insurance Services, appears to show Tyrone Harris Jr. grab a handgun out of his waistband once shots are fired during the protest in the W. Florissant corridor, prior to the officer involved shooting on August 9, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. Tyrone Harris Jr., was shot and wounded by detectives during protests one year after the death of Michael Brown (Photo by St. Louis County Police Department via Getty Images)
St. Louis County Police Department/Getty Images In this handout provided by the St. Louis County Police Department, video surveillance appears to show Tyrone Harris Jr. grab a handgun once shots are fired during the protest in the W. Florissant corridor, prior to the officer involved shooting in St. Louis, Mo., on August 9, 2015 .

Tyrone Harris Jr. was shot on Monday after allegedly opening fire on officers

Authorities in Ferguson released on Tuesday a surveillance video they say shows a teenager pulling out a gun moments before he was shot and critically injured by plainclothes police.

According to the St. Louis County Police Department, the person who appears to grab a gun from his waistband around the 10-second mark has been identified as Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, by the city’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons.

Harris, who is black, was shot after he opened fire on the officers on Monday, the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, according to the St. Louis police chief. His father called the authorities’ description of the events “a bunch of lies,” and said two girls who were with his son told him that he was unarmed.

Prosecutors charged Harris on Monday with 10 felonies, including four counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.

TIME Crime

See the Protests in Ferguson on the Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death

A day of peaceful remembrance marking the anniversary of 18-year-old Michael Brown's killing by police in Ferguson came to a violent end when a man was shot by police after he opened fire on them

TIME Crime

Man Shot, Critically Injured in Ferguson on Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death

"They were criminals. They weren't protesters"

(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A suspect who authorities say opened fire on officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death was critically wounded when the officers shot back, St. Louis County’s police chief said Monday.

But the father of the suspect, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr., called the police version of events “a bunch of lies.” He said two girls who were with his son told him he was unarmed and had been drawn into a dispute involving two groups of young people.

St. Louis County prosecutors on Monday announced 10 charges against Harris — five counts of armed criminal action, four counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and a firearms charge. All 10 are felonies.

It was not immediately clear if the latest police shooting of a black suspect would spur renewed unrest in Ferguson, the site of many protests — some violent — in the aftermath of Brown’s death on Aug. 9, 2014. Protest groups were quick to criticize the police response to protesters who gathered late Sunday along West Florissant Avenue.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference that officers had been tracking the suspect, who they believed was armed, during a protest marking the death of Brown, the black, unarmed 18-year-old whose killing by a white Ferguson police officer touched off the national “Black Lives Matter” movement.

At the height of what was already a rowdy protest in which rocks and bottles were thrown at officers, gunshots rang out from the area near a strip of stores, including some that had been looted. Belmar believes the shots came from about six different shooters. It was not clear what prompted the exchange, but Belmar said the groups had been feuding.

At one point, the suspect crossed the street and apparently spotted the plainclothes officers arriving in an unmarked van with distinctive red and blue police lights, Belmar said. He said the suspect shot into the hood and windshield.

The officers fired back at him from inside the vehicle and then pursued him on foot when he ran.

The suspect fired on officers again after he became trapped in a fenced-in area, the chief said, and all four officers fired back. He was struck and fell and was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in “critical, unstable” condition.

Tyrone Harris Sr. told The Associated Press his son was a close friend of Michael Brown and was in Ferguson Sunday night to pay respects.

Harris said his son got caught up in a dispute among two groups of young people and was “running for his life” after gunfire broke out. He said the girls who were with his son said he had no weapons.

“My son was running to the police to ask for help, and he was shot,” he said. “It’s all a bunch of lies … They’re making my son look like a criminal.”

The younger Harris does not have a listed attorney.

The suspect had a semi-automatic 9 mm gun that was stolen last year from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Belmar said.

None of the officers was seriously injured. All four have been put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. They were not wearing body cameras, Belmar said.

The shooting happened around 11:15 p.m. Sunday, sending protesters and reporters running for cover.

Belmar waved off any notion that the people with the weapons were part of the protest.

“They were criminals. They weren’t protesters,” he said.

Some protest groups were critical of police.

“It was a poor decision to use plainclothes officers in a protest setting because it made it difficult for people to identify police officers, which is essential to the safety of community members,” Kayla Reed, a field organizer with the Organization of Black Struggle, said in a statement.

“After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic.”

Early Monday, another reported shooting drew officers to an apartment building in the area. Two males told police they were targeted in a drive-by shooting near the memorial to Brown outside Canfield Apartments. A 17-year-old was shot in the chest and shoulder, and a 19-year-old was shot in the chest, but their injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Separately, police said a 17-year-old suspect has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon and one count of resisting arrest after he fired shots near the protesters late Sunday. He is being held on $100,000 bond.

The anniversary of Brown’s killing, which cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities, has sparked days of renewed protests, though until Sunday they had been peaceful and without any arrests.

Before the gunfire, protesters were blocking traffic and confronting police. One person threw a glass bottle at officers but missed.

For the first time in three consecutive nights of demonstrations, some officers were dressed in riot gear, including bulletproof vests and helmets with shields. Police used smoke to disperse a crowd that lingered on West Florissant, Belmar said.

One officer was treated for cuts after a rock was thrown at his face, and two officers were pepper-sprayed by protesters, county police said. Five people were arrested.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel was beaten and robbed by attackers while covering the unrest. Hampel said he was taking photos and videos of break-ins along West Florissant Avenue when he was rushed from behind. He was bloodied and spent the night in a hospital with a concussion.

 

___

Associated Press writer Jim Suhr and photographer Jeff Roberson contributed to this report.

TIME Race

President Obama Feels ‘Great Urgency’ a Year After Ferguson

Obama says he feels a "great urgency" regarding race and police brutality in an interview with NPR

President Obama took the occasion of the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting death by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., to say that he felt “a great urgency to get as much done as possible” before he leaves office. He dismissed criticism that he tabled race issues in his first term “because other things had to be dealt with first, other ground had to be covered first … for political reasons.”

“That I don’t buy,” Obama said in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Weekend Edition Sunday. “I think it’s fair to say that if, in my first term, Ferguson had flared up, as president of the United States, I would have been commenting on what was happening in Ferguson.”

Obama noted that heading into his second term has allowed his “passions” to take precedence. “I’ve been around this track now for a while,” he told Inskeep.

 

TIME portfolio

Photographing Life in Ferguson a Year After Michael Brown’s Death

Photographer Mark Kauzlarich has returned to Ferguson a dozen times since Michael Brown was shot dead

One year ago, on August 9, the quiet St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. made the national headlines. The body of a black teenager, Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson, lay in the street on Canfield Drive for four hours. The community was enraged. Protests gave way to looters, which prompted an unprecedented use of police force.

Images of tear gas clouds and militarized police lines became commonplace. However, behind the violence and the headlines, was a community with deep-seeded, structural issues. Mike Brown was just one member of a struggling community and a struggling generation, in Ferguson.

Mark Kauzlarich first began photographing in Ferguson a week after Brown’s death. He was, at the time, finishing up a master’s degree at the University of Missouri just two hours away. He received an assignment from Reuters to photograph the community during the day, while staff photographers rested in order to capture the intense action at night. Photographing in the daytime, Kauzlarich was able to make connections with the community and see past the chaos of late-night curfews and tear gas that graced America’s front pages and TV screens.

“In that chaotic situation, the first few nights, no one seemed to contextualize what happened against the bigger picture of issues people had been facing in Ferguson,” Kauzlarich tells TIME, “so it was all very confusing.” As he started spending more time with the citizens of Ferguson, Kauzlarich began to discover a recurring narrative. The community harbored a mix of anger and disappointment for many years, he says. They felt they were never given a chance, by the police and society, to succeed. “Initially I assumed I was expected to make dramatic images,” Kauzlarich recalls, “[but] towards the end of my first week in Ferguson, I was seeking out those quiet, and often tired, scenes as much as possible.”

Residents clean up debris from demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri
Mark Kauzlarich—ReutersResident John West hands a rose to a police officer during cleanup efforts in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 19, 2014.

After a few weeks most media organizations left Ferguson, but what is now the Black Lives Matter movement has continued to gain steam. The events in Ferguson radically changed the way America has been dealing with race and police violence. Kauzlarich says it was important to him that if connections were drawn “between what happened in Ferguson and similar incidents in the United States, like the riots in Baltimore, they needed to at least see the faces of those who lived in Ferguson instead of just imagining tear gas and burning buildings.”

With this in mind, Kauzlarich returned to Ferguson about a dozen times, embarking on a long-term, ongoing documentary project that he plans to continue for several years. For him, there is an important distinction between covering news events and covering daily issues the community faces.

Getting access to photograph subjects in such an intimate manner wasn’t easy, he says. But after gaining the trust of several individuals, Kauzlarich was invited to birthday parties and elementary school graduations, with the hope that they could play a part in “getting a different side of Ferguson out into the world,” he says.

Kauzlarich’s photographs provide a glimpse into the daily, pressurized struggles with law enforcement that brought about the events of last year. Citizens, mostly those in the black community, can be fined for ambiguous code violations for having unkempt lawns or “disturbing the peace.” The city of Ferguson profited from these fines to a tune of $2.46 million in 2013, according to a scathing Justice Department investigation. This practice fostered a culture of distrust between the black community and police, rather than a feeling of protection.

“In general, I wanted to show a broad cross section of the community,” Kauzlarich says. Focusing, not on racism or police brutality, but simply everyday activities. This includes the white population of Ferguson, which was notably less keen on being photographed, in fear of being cast as the cause of the city’s problems.

Many of the young men Kauzlarich grew up with struggling parents. They nourish hope for better futures for themselves and for their own kids. But, they say, they are plagued by a cycle of minor arrests and fines that bar them from having a clean record or savings for college. This adds to already prevalent gun violence and drug usage in the community.

“I think for [these] young men,” Kauzlarich says, “it’s hard enough to know what your own future will hold, so they don’t talk often about their hopes for the future of Ferguson.”

Mark Kauzlarich is a freelance photographer based in Wisconsin.

Marisa Schwartz Taylor is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Read Next: Inside Ferguson With the Photographers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

TIME Civil Rights

Ferguson Prepares for Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death

Local authorities say they don't expect the situation to become violent

Activists are set to mark the one-year anniversary of the high-profile deadly shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer with peaceful protests and vigils this week in Ferguson, Mo.

The shooting death of Michael Brown sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests in the St. Louis suburb, and contributed to a growing national debate over police use-of-force. Local authorities have said they don’t expect the anniversary events to become violent, but are gearing up for the possibility just in case.

The anniversary of Brown’s death is Sunday. Planned events range from marches across town to documentary screenings. Nabeehah Azeez, of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that most of the weekend’s events would be “family-friendly, open to the public and free of charge.” Organizers also said they have planned a day of “civil disobedience” on Monday that would presumably strike a somewhat more defiant tone.

“The events we have planned this weekend are intended to show the strength of community, the value of self-empowerment and the power of the people,” Azeez said.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told a meeting of police commissioners that he doesn’t expect any “acute problems,” the Post-Dispatch reports. Still, authorities have taken extra precautions just in case, with officials reportedly canceling weekend time off for officers in nearby police departments in case they need to be called in as extra support.

Brown was shot and killed after a confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury opted not to indict him in the shooting.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIME Crime

Missouri National Guard Called Ferguson Protesters ‘Enemy Forces’

Police and Missouri National Guard attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Police and Missouri National Guard attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.

Internal documents bolster claims of military-style approach

The Missouri National Guard referred to protesters in Ferguson last summer as “enemy forces,” according to documents obtained by CNN, bolstering claims the police adopted military tactics to react to protests over the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

In August, the state’s National Guard was called into aid local police agencies who were attempting to control demonstrators protesting the death of Brown, a black unarmed teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

The protests began as a demonstration against police use of force. But the response by law enforcement agencies, which mobilized armored vehicles and utilized tear gas and M4 rifles, spurred a national conversation over the militarization of police and prompted Congress to hold hearings over the flow of military gear to local police agencies.

The documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request appears to support those who claim authorities used a excessively military-style approach in its response.

“It’s disturbing when you have what amounts to American soldiers viewing American citizens somehow as the enemy,” Antonio French, a prominent alderman in St. Louis, told the network.

[CNN]

TIME cities

Ferguson Heads to the Polls in City Council Election

Ferguson Election
Jeff Roberson—AP In this photo made Friday, April 3, 2015, Reginald Rounds, a volunteer with the Organization for Black Struggle, walks door-to-door while canvassing a neighborhood in Ferguson, Mo.

Three seats are up for grabs in first election since Michael Brown shooting

Ferguson is holding its first municipal elections since the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer threw the St. Louis suburb into racial turmoil last summer.

Voters will cast ballots Tuesday to elect three city council members. The town, which is about two-thirds black, has a mostly white council.

Historically, voter turnout has been extremely low in Ferguson, with only 12% of eligible voters turning out for a mayoral election last April. However, ongoing racially charged protests and the recent Department of Justice report outlining systemic racial bias against black residents by the Ferguson Police Department could spur greater political activity during this election.

The three council seats up for grabs include Ward 3, which includes the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot. The ward’s candidates, Wesley Bell and Lee Smith, are both black.

[USA Today]

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