As Anniversary and Protests Fade, Ferguson Looks Ahead

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -

By Wednesday, police outnumbered protesters in the St. Louis suburb that launched the “Black Lives Matter” movement, signaling that the nightly demonstrations could be fading after the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. But Ferguson, and the issues that elevated it to national prominence, are sure to be closely watched in the months to come.

A protest organizer says the cause could now pivot to focus more on statehouses and corporate America.

Nabeehah Azeez says civil rights coalitions will keep calling for economic boycotts, pressing for colorblind police practices and lobbying for criminal justice reforms.

“Ferguson is a very small problem with a magnifying glass over it,” she said. “But Ferguson is not our only problem. We have a whole region, state, country and world that is our target.”

Meanwhile, the city has a daunting to-do list, including hiring a permanent city manager and police chief.

The community is on its third police chief since March, when the former chief, the city manager and the municipal judge all stepped down after a scathing Justice Department report. It blasted the police force for racial bias and the municipal court system for being a profit-driven enterprise that often targeted blacks.

All the while, Ferguson continues negotiating with the Justice Department over how to overhaul the city’s police department and municipal courts. The city is also defending itself against a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Brown’s parents.