ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday named 16 people to the new Ferguson Commission, an independent panel tasked with helping the St. Louis County suburb of Ferguson heal after the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Here is a look at the commission and its members:
WHO ARE THEY?: More than 300 people applied for spots on the commission, including out-of-state residents and Missourians who don't live in the St. Louis area. The Democratic governor selected a racially diverse group; nine of its members are black, seven are white. Its ranks include the owner of Ferguson construction supply company, two pastors, a university professor, two attorneys, a 20-year-old community activist and a St. Louis police detective who is also president of the state chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
WHAT WILL THEY DO?: The commission was created by Nixon one month ago to study the underlying social and economic conditions — from failing schools to high unemployment— underscored by sometimes violent unrest following the early August shooting of Brown, who was black, by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who is white. It will make recommendations in a report due by September 2015.
WHO PAYS FOR IT: The Missouri Development Finance Board approved a $100,000 grant Tuesday to help cover the commission's operating cost. State Economic Development Director Mike Downing has said that additional funding will come from private contributions and the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps finance state economic development efforts.
WHAT THE GOVERNOR SAYS: Asked by reporters why a commission is necessary instead of pursuing solutions under his power as the state's chief executive, Nixon said that having "a diverse, deep commission with the unquestioned ability to make the hard calls and the short- and long-term recommendations to policymakers, the governor, legislators (and to deliver) a clear, clarion call to action."
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