This Article is From Apr 08, 2015

Ferguson Votes in First Polls Since Michael Brown Shooting

Ferguson Votes in First Polls Since Michael Brown Shooting

Police officers respond after two officers were hit by gunfire outside the Ferguson Police Headquarters in on March 12, 2015. (Reuters)

Washington:

Voters in the troubled Missouri city of Ferguson cast ballots Tuesday in the first municipal elections since a white police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Four African-Americans are among the eight candidates vying for three seats up for grabs on a six-seat council that is overwhelmingly white.

Nearly 15,000 citizens are registered to vote, although only 12 percent turned out for mayoral elections a year ago.

The St Louis suburb of 21,000 is two-thirds African-American, but historically its black community has not been actively engaged in municipal politics.

Ferguson has been in the international spotlight since police officer Darren Wilson killed Brown, an 18-year-old, on a residential street last August, triggering weeks of sometimes violent protests.

A US Justice Department inquiry, released in March, said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson for the youth's death.

But it exposed a history of racial bias within the Ferguson police force, which targeted blacks as a way to generate municipal revenue through traffic fines and court fees.

Ferguson's police chief, municipal judge and city manager have since resigned, while Mayor James Knowles -- whose job was not in contention Tuesday -- is the target of a recall campaign.