City Council Races Offer Change in Ferguson After Months of Upheaval

In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, Marurice Brown raises his arms during a public comments portion of a meeting of the Ferguson City Council, back right, in Ferguson, Mo. Candidates for the first municipal election in Ferguson since a fatal police shooting brought the St. Louis suburb international notoriety face a filing deadline Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Ferguson is nearly 70 percent black, all but one of its elected leaders is white. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Many residents at a Ferguson City Council meeting expressed displeasure over details of a citizens review board proposed to monitor the Police Department. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)
Many residents at a Ferguson City Council meeting expressed displeasure over details of a citizens review board proposed to monitor the Police Department. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Jack Healy and John Eligon, THE NEW YORK TIMES

FERGUSON, Mo. (The New York Times)— They gathered under the fluorescent lights of the First Baptist Church here one night last week to lay out visions for their battered town, four aspiring politicians, two white and two black, debating the daunting challenges of rebuilding Ferguson.

Less than a mile away, vigils were being held for two police officers shot early Thursday as they patrolled a demonstration that had erupted with the news of the police chief’s resignation. People at the candidates’ forum, which drew an audience of about 150 to the church, referred to the shootings obliquely as “the events of last night.”

The candidates, all running for the City Council, offered prayers for the officers and their families. And the audience had a barrage of urgent questions: Who would replace the police chief and other senior city officials who had resigned? How should Ferguson bridge the economic chasms between white and black neighborhoods? Was that even possible?

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