The American's with Charlie LeDuff: Ferguson's hired gun - a PR problem
Ferguson, MO - What do you do when you're the white police chief or white mayor of a black town?
Now, what if your police force is nearly all white, a white cop shoots an unarmed black teenager, and black people get mad about it?
Add that you don't know anybody who can talk to black people because you don't know too many black people, even though you're the chief of police or the mayor of a black town.
What do you do? You hire this guy! A black guy with a colorful history.
It was a summer to forget in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Now, Charlie LeDuff is back in Ferguson and he's talking to the city's hired gun.
The St. Louis Economic Partnership hired 34-year old Devin James to work for the city after the teen's shooting. Recently, they fired the Memphis, Tennessee, native because they say James didn't tell them that he'd killed a guy.
But the mayor and the chief say they knew about his criminal history and that he even sold dope in his past, it's one of the things they liked about him and they're keeping him on.
Not everybody in the city believes James can relate to their life.
For his part, James said his value comes in the fact that he can speak two languages: both black and white.