Nearly one year after African-American teen Michael Brown, who was unarmed, was shot and killed in the streets of Ferguson by a white police officer, the Missouri city announced the hiring of a new, black interim police chief.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and interim city manager Ed Beasley announced the appointment of Andre Anderson Wednesday at the Ferguson Community Center.
“The City of Ferguson and our police department have endured a tremendous amount of distrust during the past nine months, Knowles said in a news release. “We understand that it will take time to once again gain the trust of everyone.”
African-Americans make up nearly 70% of the city’s population but only about 3% of Ferguson’s police department.
A Philadelphia native, Anderson is an Army veteran and spent 24 years on the Glendale, Arizona police force where he worked alongside Beasley, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.
Last March, the Justice Department released a scathing report saying the Ferguson police department engaged in a broad pattern of conduct that routinely violated the constitutional rights of African-Americans. The findings included racist emails, a practice of unreasonable force, wrongful stops and arrests of blacks without probable cause, and sidestepping public safety.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned in the wake of the DOJ report and the city has been without a police chief since. Daren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, resigned from the police force as well; there was not enough evidence to charge him for civil rights violations.
The killing of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson sparked the nationwide “Black Lives Matter” movement, with months of rallies and protests in major cities.