article by Maria Sudekum via thegrio.com
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A veteran Miami police officer with two decades of experience dealing with the media and community leaders will take over as police chief in Ferguson, hoping to help the St. Louis suburb heal as it rebounds after the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.
Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss was announced as chief Thursday, putting a black man in charge of a mostly white department that serves a town where African-Americans make up two-thirds of the residents.
“This has been a long and strenuous process, but we believe Major Moss is the right choice,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “We understand the past 18 months have not been easy for everyone, but the City is now moving forward and we are excited to have Major Moss lead our police department.”
The 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson during a street confrontation on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting prompted months of unrest that sometimes grew violent and helped spark the national Black Lives Matter movement.
A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to indict Wilson, who resigned in November 2014. But the Justice Department issued a critical report of Ferguson in March 2015, citing racial bias in policing and a municipal court system that made money at poor and minority residents’ expense.
Ferguson’s city manager, municipal judge and Police Chief Tom Jackson all resigned within days of the report. The Ferguson City Council just two weeks ago agreed to a settlement with the Justice Department that calls for major reforms in the city’s criminal justice system.