Protesters demand Ferguson’s mayor resigns, as city installs interim police chief

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FERGUSON, MO (KPLR) – The city of Ferguson named a new interim police chief Wednesday several weeks before the first anniversary of the Michael Brown fatal shooting that plunged the city into turmoil last year.

Mayor James Knowles said it is part of the city’s plan to move forward with a strong community policing approach.  The new chief, Andre Anderson comes from the Glendale, AZ police department.  He described himself as having a “caring nature” and as an officer with experience with community policing and community engagement.

Protestors standing outside Ferguson City Hall later in the morning questioned the hiring of the chief.   “I think they should have notified the people of the city of Ferguson and got some kind of input from us instead of just throwing somebody in there,” said Phil Gassoway of Ground Level Support.

Gassoway and about 15 demonstrators continue to call attention to their campaign to force a recall vote on Mayor Knowles.   “He hasn’t really been in the African-American community addressing concerns African-Americans have,” Gassoway said.

Gerry Jasper signed the recall petition.  “The mayor should have known people weren’t being treated right,” she said.  Jasper explained she has black relatives.  “Racial profiling is real,” she added.  “For the mayor not to realize that some of his police, not all, were doing wrong, then there’s a problem,” Jasper said.

The recall petition drive fell 28 votes short and now organizers have filed a lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court claiming more than 28 signatures ruled as invalid are actually valid signatures of Ferguson registered voters.

Several community events are scheduled in the coming days offering assistance to citizens and organizing volunteers for a cleanup in the business area along West Florissant.

Saturday, July 25 forty St. Louis area churches will sponsor “A Day of Hope” at the Forestwood Park, 806 Ferguson Ave. in Ferguson.  The event offers free carnival games for children, resume writing and job counseling, banking and credit resources and health screenings.  Families may pick up a free bag of groceries, enjoy lunch and participate in prayer.  The event runs from 10 am until 2 pm (or while supplies last).

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are the media sponsors of the local event.  It is part of a national Convoy of Hope 50 state tour aimed at helping community’s pool local resources.

Monday, July 27 KMOX radio is sponsoring a volunteer cleanup effort along West Florissant beginning at 8:30 am until 11 am.  The goal is to pick up litter and remove weeds.  Participants are asked to bring gloves and a large trash bag.  Parking will be available at Forestwood Park on Ferguson Avenue.  Shuttles provided by the City of Ferguson will bring workers to the work area beginning at the site of the torn down QuikTrip at 9420 West Florissant.