FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Ferguson’s first municipal election since a fatal police shooting sparked months of protests and exposed the city’s deep racial divide drew relatively little interest from prospective candidates as Tuesday’s filing deadline passed.
Three of the St. Louis suburb’s six City Council seats are up for election on April 7 and none of the three incumbents decided to seek re-election. Three of the eight residents who did declare as candidates waited until hours before Tuesday’s late afternoon filing deadline.
Ferguson was roiled by sometimes violent protests after 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was shot to death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in August. A St. Louis County grand jury declined in November to indict Wilson, who left the force days later.
At the time of the shooting, just three of 53 police officers were black in a city with an African-American population of nearly 70 percent. All but one of the six council members are white, as is Mayor James Knowles, who resisted calls for his own resignation and said he plans to seek a third term as mayor in 2017.
“The council can still be responsive to the city without the customary `heads have to roll’ response,” Knowles said. “If that’s what the citizens of Ferguson demanded, there would be at least one person running under the banner of, `They all have to go.’ And that’s just not happened.”