FERGUSON, Mo.—A year and a half after a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, the U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city. Here is a timeline of key events that followed the Aug. 9. 2014 shooting of Michael Brown:
AUG. 9, 2014—Michael Brown and a companion, both black, are confronted by an officer as they walk back to Brown’s home from a convenience store. Brown and the officer, who is white, are involved in a scuffle, followed by gunshots. Brown dies at the scene, and his body remains in the street for four hours in the summer heat. Neighbors later lash out at authorities, saying they mistreated the body.
AUG. 10, 2014—After a candlelight vigil, people protesting Brown’s death smash car windows and carry away armloads of looted goods from stores. In the first of several nights of violence, looters are seen making off with bags of food, toilet paper and alcohol. Some protesters stand atop police cars and taunt officers.
AUG. 11, 2014—The FBI opens an investigation into Brown’s death, and two men who said they saw the shooting tell reporters that Brown had his hands raised when the officer approached with his weapon and fired repeatedly. That night, police in riot gear fire tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse a crowd.
AUG. 14, 2014—The Missouri State Highway Patrol takes control of security in Ferguson, relieving St. Louis County and local police of their law-enforcement authority following four days of violence. The shift in command comes after images from the protests show many officers equipped with military-style gear, including armored vehicles, body armor and assault rifles. In scores of photographs that circulate online, officers are seen pointing their weapons at demonstrators.
AUG. 15, 2014—Police identify the officer who shot Brown as Darren Wilson, 28. They also release a video purporting to show Brown robbing a convenience store of almost $50 worth of cigars shortly before he was killed, a move that further inflames protesters.
AUG. 16, 2014—Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency and imposes a curfew in Ferguson.
AUG. 18, 2014—Nixon calls the National Guard to Ferguson to help restore order and lifts the curfew.
AUG. 20, 2014—Attorney General Eric Holder visits Ferguson to offer assurances about the investigation into Brown’s death and to meet with investigators and Brown’s family. A grand jury begins hearing evidence to determine whether Wilson should be charged.
AUG. 21, 2014—Nixon orders the National Guard to withdraw from Ferguson.
SEPT. 25, 2014—Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson releases a videotaped apology to Brown’s family and attempts to march in solidarity with protesters, a move that backfires when Ferguson officers scuffle with demonstrators and arrest one person moments after Jackson joins the group.
OCT. 10, 2014—Protesters from across the country descend on the St. Louis region for “Ferguson October,” four days of coordinated and spontaneous protests. A weekend march and rally in downtown St. Louis draws several thousand participants.
OCT. 21, 2014—Nixon pledges to create an independent Ferguson Commission to examine race relations, failing schools and other broader social and economic issues in the aftermath of Brown’s death.
NOV. 17, 2014—The Democratic governor declares a state of emergency and activates the National Guard again ahead of a decision from a grand jury. He places Ferguson police in charge of security in Ferguson, with orders to work as a unified command with St. Louis city police and the Missouri Highway Patrol.
NOV. 18, 2014—Nixon names 16 people to the Ferguson Commission. Nine of its members are black. Seven are white.
NOV. 24, 2014—The St. Louis County prosecutor announces that the grand jury has decided not to indict Wilson. During ensuing protests, at least a dozen buildings and multiple police cars are burned, officers are hit by rocks and batteries and reports of gunfire force some St. Louis-bound flights to be diverted.
MARCH 4, 2015—The U.S. Justice Department announces that it will not prosecute Wilson in Brown’s death but releases a scathing report that faults the city and its law enforcement for racial bias.
MARCH 11, 2015—Jackson resigns, effective March 19. Jackson, who is white, is the sixth employee to resign or be fired in light of the Justice Department’s report. He is replaced on an interim basis by his top commander, Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff, who also is white.
MARCH 12, 2015—Two St. Louis-area police officers are shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department during a demonstration by protesters. Three days later, a 20-year-old man is charged with first-degree assault in the shootings.
APRIL 7, 2015—In Ferguson’s first municipal election since Brown’s death, two of the three City Council members elected are black. Blacks now hold three of six seats, compared with the single seat prior to the election.
APRIL 23, 2015—Lawyers for Brown’s family sue the city of Ferguson, Wilson and Jackson.
MAY 20, 2015—The makeshift mid-street memorial that marked where Brown fell dead is cleared out on would have been his 19th birthday, giving way to a permanent plaque installed nearby in his memory.
JUNE 9, 2015—Ferguson hires a new municipal judge and interim city manager, both of them black.
JULY 10, 2015—Nixon signs into law legislation limiting cities’ ability to profit from traffic tickets and court fines—the first significant step taken by state lawmakers to address concerns raised after Brown’s death. Among other things, the law lowers the percentage of revenue most cities can collect from traffic fines and fees from 30 percent to 20 percent.
JULY 22, 2015—Andre Anderson, a black, longtime police administrator in suburban Phoenix, is introduced as Ferguson’s new interim police chief.
AUG. 8, 2015—A day before the anniversary of Brown’s death, a morning march went from Canfield Drive—the site of the shooting—to Normandy High School, from which Brown had graduated. An afternoon march also was launched near where a St. Louis city police officer shot and killed another 18-year-old last October.
AUG. 9, 2015—Marking the anniversary of his son’s death, Michael Brown Sr. leads a march from the shooting site to a community church service.
JAN. 27, 2016—Ferguson announces a tentative deal with the Justice Department to reform the city’s policing and municipal court. The recommended overhaul follows seven months of negotiations.
FEB. 9, 2016—Ferguson’s City Council unanimously votes to revise the agreement with the Justice Department, proposing seven amendments the mayor said were formulated after the analysis showed the deal was so expensive it could lead to the dissolution of Ferguson.
FEB. 10, 2016—The Justice Department files a civil-rights lawsuit against Ferguson.