Wednesday marked the third anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson.
Brown’s death roiled the roughly 20,000-strong population of Ferguson, Missouri, prompted protests and riots, and ignited a national debate on racial bias and excessive use of force in policing across the country.
In 2015, a grand jury declined to indict Wilson for civil rights violations in the shooting, but Brown’s family later won a $1.5 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.
A Department of Justice review of Ferguson’s policing practices also found that the city’s officers routinely violated residents’ constitutional rights, frequently conducting stops without reasonable suspicion or arrests without probable cause, and often employing excessive force.
Ferguson, with its mostly black population formerly governed by disproportionately white lawmakers, has attempted to overhaul its police department and city leadership in the years since Brown’s death.
But despite the leadership adjustments, Ferguson residents have argued that not enough has changed in the community since Brown’s death.
A group of more than two dozen people gathered at the site where he died on Tuesday evening to rebuild a makeshift memorial, placing candles, teddy bears, and balloons on the street where Brown was killed three years ago.
“Where are the police and politicians tonight?” organizer Meldon Moffitt said at the gathering, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“If they cared about the community, about making a difference, they would be here with us. They’re part of this too.”
Activists also took to Twitter on Wednesday to commemorate Brown’s death:
We owe it to #MikeBrown to dismantle systems/structures that harm people & to build systems/structures of equity & justice. Do the work.
— deray mckesson (@deray) August 9, 2017
— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 9, 2017
— Lamont Lilly (@LamontLilly) August 9, 2017
— AdrianOctaviusWalker (@AoctaviusW) August 9, 2017
Let us remember that #MikeBrown was still a kid. A kid wanting to learn, wanting to love and be loved, wanting to be free; He was not a thug
— Clifton Kinnie (@CliftonKinnie) August 9, 2017