New Ferguson City Council members sworn in; reform promised -

New Ferguson City Council members sworn in; reform promised

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Three new members of Ferguson's city council were sworn in Tuesday evening in a historic ceremony.

The swearing in was historic because half of the council will now be made up of African American members. All three new members were elected after a Department of Justice report alleged the city used its municipal court and police department as a means of collecting revenue. The report also accused the police stopping African Americans at a higher rate than whites.

All three new members, Ella James, Brian Fletcher, and Wesley Bell, spoke to News 4 about what they would do to move the North County city forward in a positive direction. James provided News 4 with some specifics.

“Tomorrow morning, call and see when I have an opportunity to go in and visit the police during a shift change. I want to get to know them, I want them to know me,” said James.

Both Bell and Fletcher spoke in the abstract. Both said they have a desire to reshape the city's court and police department.

“I think we need to have outside police meetings with our citizens. We need to get out of the car more, have bicycle patrols and walk the beat,” Fletcher said.

“I want to reform our courts, not just Ferguson, but regionally. There are initiatives in place that I've been involved in. We have an opportunity with all the attention on our city to make some sustainable changes,” Bell said.

All three said they believe Mayor James Knowles should not resign. The council is expected to hire a new police chief and city manager soon.

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