Voters in Ferguson, Missouri, elected two African-American candidates to City Council Tuesday in the first election since Michael Brown was fatally shot by a White police officer. The shooting set off an explosion of protests and sparked a national conversation about race and policing. The election of Wesley Bell and Ella Jones to Council means three of the body's six members will be African-American, NBC station KSDK reported. Until Tuesday, five of the six members were White.
Bell, a professor and local magistrate, was elected to Ward 3. Bell beat Lee Smith, who is also Black, with nearly 67 percent, according to unofficial results. Ward 3 covers the neighborhood in which Brown, 18, was shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. "This community came out in record numbers to make sure our voices were heard," said councilman-elect Bell. "When you have a community engaged, the sky is the limit."
Jones became the second African-American elected to Council Tuesday, getting nearly 50 percent of the vote to beat three other candidates for the Ward 1 seat. She will replace Kim Tihen, a police officer who stepped down from the council after her name was mentioned in the Department of Justice's scathing report.