Ferguson re-elects Knowles as mayor

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III shakes hands with Nikeisha Whittier outside the polling station at St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Knowles is being challenged in the mayor's race by Ferguson city council member Ella Jones. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Ferguson, Missouri’s top elected official in the tumultuous 32 months since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown has won another three-year term.

Mayor James Knowles III on Tuesday held off a challenge from city Councilwoman Ella Jones, who was seeking to become the St. Louis suburb’s first-ever black mayor. Knowles won with 56 percent of the vote to Jones’ 44 percent.

It will be Knowles’ final term in office, due to term limits. He was first elected to the City Council at age 25, and was just 31 when he was elected mayor. Jones, a retired Mary Kay executive, was elected to the council in 2015, her first elected position.

Ferguson became a flash point of racial unrest following the 2014 shooting of Brown, a black and unarmed 18-year-old, by white officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice cleared Wilson of wrongdoing and he resigned in November 2014.

The city will have strict new requirements for use of police body cameras following voter approval of a ballot initiative.
On Tuesday, voters approved the body camera measure. It will require officers to have cameras on at virtually all times, require the city to maintain body camera video for at least two years, and make footage from public places widely available.
Ferguson officers have used body cameras since a few weeks after Brown, who was 18, black and unarmed, was killed by a white police officer in 2014. But critics say officers don’t always have them on and cite other problems with the current policy.

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