Ferguson elects first black mayor in city’s history nearly six years after protests solidified Black Lives Matter movement

Ella Jones
Ella Jones is the first African American and first woman to be elected mayor of Ferguson, Missouri.

(CNN) — The Missouri city where the death of a black teen set off weeks of nationwide protests and outrage in 2014 elected its first woman and first black mayor Tuesday night, according to CNN affiliate KMOV.

Returns from the St. Louis County Board of Elections show Ella Jones took 54% of the vote in the race for mayor of Ferguson versus Heather Robinett with 46%.

Nearly six years after a white police officer shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the mayor-elect defeated her opponent as protests across the US continued over the death of George Floyd.

Jones is both the city’s first black mayor and the first woman in that office, according to KMOV.

Jones has worked as a chemist and church pastor, according to her campaign biography. She has served on the Ferguson city council since 2015, when she was elected as its first African-American member.

Jones succeeds James Knowles III, who was prohibited by term limits from running for reelection after nine years in office.

Ferguson was at the center of a movement that brought national attention to race and policing in the United States. The protests after Brown’s death helped solidify the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2014, a grand jury declined to indict the white officer who fatally shot the 18-year-old Brown. His family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson three years later.

Brown was walking with a friend when he encountered former officer Darren Wilson, who told authorities he approached the men because they were blocking traffic. In a matter of minutes, Wilson fatally shot Brown, who several said had his hands up.

With cases of unarmed black men being fatally shot by police preceding and following, Brown’s death sparked protests and an online movement over the treatment by police of African-American communities.