Dozens of people have been arrested in Ferguson from protests and violence, following the one-year anniversary Sunday of the Michael Brown, Jr. shooting. Longtime resident Charles Davis opened a business at W. Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, the day before Michael Brown was shot.
Davis owns the Ferguson Burger Bar and More, which has survived in the midst of over the past year, in the midst of protests, looting, blockades — and some healing.
He spoke with Missourinet after the first night of violence and pleaded with activists from outside the community, asking that they “take their agenda elsewhere.”
For Ferguson citizens, Davis has another request:
“Those who are part of the community, let’s allow our new elected officials to do their job.”
Davis said Ferguson got what it wanted, that is, new city leadership.
“The best thing that has happened is we’ve had a changing of the guard in a shorter time that I’ve seen in anything in history…in a matter of six or seven months? I do believe it’s outside agitators who don’t have an interest in our community who are being impatient,” Davis says.
Interim Police Chief Andre Anderson has been in office for about two weeks. Ella Jones, Wesley Bell, and Brian Fletcher are the new city council members sworn into office in April. The City Council hired last month Ed Beasley as interim city manager and Donald McCullin, a former St. Louis City Circuit Court judge, as municipal court judge.
“Now that we have that we need to let up, be mindful, be peaceful and watch what they do. The more distraction and destruction you create, they have to tend to instead of the main problem of the everyday living. We didn’t get in this position overnight. We’re not going to get out of it overnight,” says Davis. “What do you expect? The Interim Police Chief has been there two weeks. What do you expect from the man, the city council people and the newly elected individuals. We have to give them time.”
Davis says the area has been improving at a steady pace since last year’s social eruption over the death of an unarmed teen.
“You can see that more people are talking with more people,” says Davis. There are more activities going on to try to make relationships between the political structure and the people themselves.”
He says the community –black and white—are talking more since this spring’s U.S. Department of Justice report revealing unfair police and municipal court practices.
AUDIO: Davis’s view from W. Florissant says yes, things are better:
“You had some that didn’t realize what was going on,” Davis says, “So now, they are reaching out to actually help because they were actually surprised because it’s not a part of their world.”
One last request from Davis:
“Do four weeks of talking, whether it’s once a week or twice a week. Get some agendas in line. As soon as you get the media in, that’s when you get all of these people hollering and screaming. They may do it prior to the media, but at least you get the opportunity to calm them down and now it’s not being shown on television that whatever is happening isn’t being disruptive. It gives a lesser opportunity for the wrong thing to be displayed when it really may not be what’s going on. One person could do something and make it seem like everybody is a part of it.”