Tags: MidPoint | Brian Fletcher | ferguson | police officers | shot

Ex-Ferguson Mayor: 'We Want Our City Back'

By    |   Thursday, 12 March 2015 08:44 PM

The shooting of two Ferguson, Mo., police officers early Thursday is a continuation of a nightmare in which local residents have been trapped since last summer, says a former Ferguson mayor.

"Just utter tragedy," ex-mayor and "I Love Ferguson" committee chairman Brian P. Fletcher said of the two wounded officers, telling Newsmax TV on Thursday, "We don't know when we're going to wake up from this nightmare over the last several months."

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Fletcher, who is leading rebuilding efforts in Ferguson and running for city council, joined "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner to discuss a scathing Justice Department report on the city and its police department prompted by the death of Michael Brown.

Fletcher disputed some of the report's findings, and he clashed with another "MidPoint" guest, retired Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, over Ferguson's treatment by the federal government and the general public.

The negative commenters "don't live in Ferguson," he said "and they don't understand our community."

The Justice Department cleared a former city police officer, Darren Wilson, in the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, which touched off months of unrest and turned Ferguson into both a symbol and a casualty of racial strife.

But the accompanying Justice Department report has led to a spate of resignations in Ferguson's city hall, police department and municipal court.

Investigators found that 85 percent of vehicle stops and 93 percent of arrests in Ferguson were of African-Americans, who make up 67 percent of the city's population, according to the report.

The report also faulted city officials for overusing ticketing, fines and late-payment penalties against locals to help bankroll city operations, and said these practices fell hardest on poor black residents in this suburban city of 20,000 people outside of St. Louis.

Fletcher countered that Ferguson police get 15 percent of their revenue from ticketing — half the percentage allowed by state law and, he said, "nowhere near" the proportion collected by several neighboring cities that were identified in a recent survey.

Fletcher said one of his primary goals right now is to keep Ferguson afloat through the major shakeup in its daily operations.

"Our concern is about the viability of our future — that we will not be financially and economically bankrupted by the Department of Justice findings," he said.

He also defended the exit package for Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who resigned on Wednesday, effective March 19.

LAPD veteran Dorsey said Jackson "gets to walk away with a golden handshake and a $100,000 salary.

"Seems hardly like a penalty to me,"she said.

"Chief Jackson was a very honorable man, and it's not uncommon for a person of his position to have a separation agreement," Fletcher replied. "The citizens I have talked to have not been upset about that at all."

With a manhunt underway for whoever shot and wounded the two officers in front of police headquarters overnight, Fletcher said that the unrest in Ferguson since August has primarily been the work of outsiders.

He said he is raising money through "I Love Ferguson" to assist the local businesses — most of them minority-owned — that were devastated by arson and looting in November after a grand jury cleared Wilson in Brown's death.

"No outsiders have done that," said Fletcher, who hopes to be elected to the city council on April 7. "It's only been the local citizens that have taken control. We want our city back, and we're going to fight to keep our police department.

"This is a wonderful city, and those that are making negative comments do not live here," he said.

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The shooting of two Ferguson, Mo., police officers early Thursday is a continuation of a nightmare in which local residents have been trapped since last summer, says a former Ferguson mayor.
Brian Fletcher, ferguson, police officers, shot
Thursday, 12 March 2015 08:44 PM
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