Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently announced the creation of an independent commission to address the grievances, mistrust and violence of Ferguson residents sparked by the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The Ferguson Commission will conduct a "thorough, wide-ranging and unflinching study” on the St. Louis suburb’s social and economic environment in the aftermath of the Aug. 9 shooting of the unarmed teenager, Nixon said at a news conference on Tuesday.
The governor, a Democrat, has faced criticism from some residents and local and national activists about his response — or lack thereof — to the highly publicized unrest in Ferguson.
“As the smoke clears and the shouting dies down, the question that lingers in the air is this: What now?" Nixon said.
The members of the commission will not be announced until next month, but Nixon has asked for help identifying ordinary citizens and community leaders interested in joining.
"They must be willing to talk candidly and openly, and — more importantly — to listen to what those on every side have to say,” said Nixon. "These are difficult conversations that for far too long have been avoided or ignored. This work is not for the faint of heart.”
Nixon also emphasized that the commission would not play a role in the ongoing investigations of Brown’s death.
Ferguson October, an activist group that recently organized a four-day protest in the community, were among those who voiced skepticism about the commission.
"Governor Nixon has failed the residents of Missouri again with his announcement of the politically toothless Ferguson Commission,” the group said in a statement. "Commissions historically have been the place where movements die, a place where those in power tout empty policy solutions and instead use the time to return to business as usual.”
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(Photo: AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)