Brown Sr. asked the prosecuting attorney to reopen the case at a news conference Friday morning. Both state and federal prosecutors declined to charge Darren Wilson, the police officer, who resigned after the shooting.
“As a father, I vowed to protect my children,” Brown said. “I could not protect him that day and it breaks my heart.”
“We’re not stopping until we get justice,” he added.
The death of 18-year-old Brown Jr. — one of roughly 1,000 people killed by police each year — set into motion profound changes in policing, race relations and society that continue to reverberate.
Ferguson is a dramatically different city today than the one that erupted in violence five years ago after Brown’s death. The City Council, which had only one African-American member in 2014, now has six. The police department, which had only three African Americans on its 53-member force, is now about half black. Its chief, Jason Armstrong, is African American.
But Ferguson, its residents say, has also stubbornly remained the same place. Black people are still stopped by the police at disproportionate levels. The poverty rate remains above 20 percent. The Police Department lacks a neighborhood policing plan and has failed to collect data on police use of force.
At a memorial service Friday for Brown, mourners stood in silence for 4 1/2 minutes to represent the 4 1/2 hours his body was left lying in the street. The silence was followed by chants of “Mike Brown” and pledges to continue to seek justice.
“We haven’t achieved what we set out to accomplish, and we won’t stop until the police admit to what really happened that day,” said Jonathan Thomas, 31, from St. Louis. “You look around and nothing has changed. Same old, same old.”
The crowd of about 200 people, a mix of African Americans and whites, was made up largely of people who had been engaged in protests and for whom Brown remains an illustration of unfinished justice.
Afterward, they marched up Canfield Drive chanting, “Whose street? Our street.” It was on Canfield Drive that Brown was shot by a police officer.
This time, officers escorted them.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.