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Antonio French evaluates changes, challenges related to Ferguson

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 17, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Tuesday at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French was one of the most visible people in Ferguson, the city and related social media, last summer and fall after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Since then, French has shifted his attention back to the 21st Ward and North Campus, an education-based community program that helps parents and students. But he’s also still active in Ferguson efforts.

“What happens down the road from me affects us all,” French told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “We are, I think, still in a crisis. It has changed and we’re in a different phase.”

The Department of Justice’s civil rights report, released earlier this month, presented “undeniable information,” French said.

“I don’t think we have done enough in the last few months to really address some of these issues,” French said. “What I worry is that as we get into these warm months, summer and spring — typically our higher crime months … that disconnect between the community and the police is still very much in effect, very much exists like it did last year, and could hurt some of our crime-fighting efforts.”

French said the report by the Justice Department is different from reports with similar findings because it comes from the Justice Department.

“The DOJ actually has authority to do something about it, to force a certain amount of change,” French said. “What I’ve been pushing for, and many others, from the very beginning, is that the DOJ should not limit their investigation or their recommendations just to the small city of Ferguson. What we know as St. Louisans is that Ferguson itself is not unique.”

“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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