Incumbent Ferguson mayor faces opposition in April election


ST. LOUIS | The man who was the face of Ferguson, Missouri, in the turmoil that followed the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown has opposition in his re-election bid.

The St. Louis suburb announced Thursday that two candidates are running for mayor in the April 4 election — incumbent James Knowles III and councilwoman Ella Jones. The election is nonpartisan.

Knowles was elected to his first three-year term in 2011 and re-elected in April 2014. On Aug. 9 of that year, white officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was 18, black and unarmed.

The shooting led to months of unrest and sometimes violent protests. A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice found no evidence of wrongdoing by Wilson, who resigned in November 2014.

But the shooting and protests led to scrutiny of Ferguson, resulting in a scathing Justice Department report alleging racial bias in the city’s criminal justice system. A settlement reached last year calls for Ferguson to spend more than $2 million on reforms.

Jones was elected in April 2015, becoming the first black woman to serve on the council. Knowles, who is white, served as a councilman for six years before being elected mayor.