Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | Ferguson | unrest | PR expert

Ferguson Damage Control Rep, a Convicted Killer, Fired From PR Job

By    |   Friday, 26 Sep 2014 08:23 PM

A public relations expert hired to help Ferguson, Missouri recover from the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager is out of a job after officials learned that he once shot an unarmed man, according to reports.

Devin James, 32, was relieved of his responsibilities handling media and community relations for Ferguson late on Thursday after his criminal past surfaced, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
 
James was convicted in 2006 in Shelby County, Tennessee for reckless homicide for shooting an unarmed man in Memphis who he said was trying to rob him. He served 90 days at a work farm in 2009 for the shooting, and his parole ended in March of this year.

James, who runs a media relations firm, went to work for Ferguson officials two weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting of local resident Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

The shooting sparked a national uproar and several days of rioting and demonstrations on the ground.

It also yielded unflattering media scrutiny of the working-class St. Louis suburb and stories of long-simmering, unaddressed tensions between the majority-black population and a majority-white police force and municipal government.

James, who is black, was already on the payroll of a regional business development authority when he was tapped to help Ferguson restore its battered reputation and regain trust from the community.

He advised officials on how to handle media in a racially charged case that is still under investigation. His firm produced a video released this week of Ferguson's police chief, Thomas Jackson, apologizing to residents and the family of Michael Brown.

James was making $154.10 an hour under his contract, with the city of St. Louis footing the bill, the Post Dispatch reported.

But while Ferguson officials said they knew of James' past, and were okay with it, officials with the development agency said they did not — until they were informed on Thursday afternoon by a Post-Dispatch reporter.

Officials with the agency, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, said they had not done a background check on James before hiring him.

"However, a quick Google search showed James' criminal records in the results," a local television station, KMOV reported.

James told the Post-Dispatch that he had a "hard road" growing up, and that as a teenager he joined a gang.

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A public relations expert hired to help Ferguson, Missouri recover from the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager is out of a job after officials learned that he once shot an unarmed man, according to reports.
Ferguson, unrest, PR expert
387
2014-23-26
Friday, 26 Sep 2014 08:23 PM
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