How A Local Politician Emerged As The Key Chronicler Of The Unrest In Missouri

Alderman Antonio French has captured the vigils and protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a police officer left the community reeling.

1. For several nights now, the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson has been in chaos over the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man from the area.

2. Throughout the unrest, Antonio French has seemingly been there, documenting the vigils, vandalism, and violence happening in his community for the world to follow along.

3. French is a local politician, serving his first term as Alderman of the 21st Ward in St. Louis, which includes the neighborhoods Kingsway East, Greater Ville, O’Fallon, Penrose, and Mark Twain.

He was born and raised in the ward he serves, according to his staff profile. It also says he is “one of the youngest city aldermen.”

Before becoming alderman, French served the 21st Ward as the Democratic committeeman, and ran his own political consulting firm, which helped manage campaigns.

He has sponsored a bill since becoming Alderman that would hold politicians more accountable by requiring recordings and transcripts for all official meetings of city government, according to CBS’s St. Louis affiliate.

As Alderman, French has also cleaned and restored the O’Fallon Park, and he launched a summer jazz concert series in the park in partnership with the local concert hall.

4. French has provided amazing coverage, posting photos and Vines with updates or just the words “Right now in #Ferguson” since the shooting happened on Saturday.

5. Follow the story on French’s timeline, starting on Saturday:

“@stltoday: Fatal shooting by Ferguson police prompts mob reaction http://t.co/i5TFA94Q2a” "Mob"? You could also use the word "community".

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police have shut down all lanes of West Florissant at #Ferguson.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The mother of the boy killed in #Ferguson speaking to media about the loss of her son.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police have brought out the large gear in #Ferguson.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Tensions are high, but the scene is peaceful in #Ferguson.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The mother of #MikeBrown, the 17-year-old killed by #Ferguson police today, says her son was about to start at Vatterott College next week.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

People marching to the #Ferguson Police Dept headquarters following the killing of a 17-year-old boy.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

People are gathering at the site where #Ferguson police killed 17-year-old #MikeBrown. Police have swarmed the area.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

People in the street shouting "No Justice, No Peace" and blocking a Kinloch police car from passing. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The crowd has forced the police car to reverse. #ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police cars trampled the rose petals and candles at the memorial for #MikeBrown.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Right now in #Ferguson, MO following the killing of 17-year-old #MikeBrown

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

People are angry, frustrated but peaceful tonight in #Ferguson. The police dept's heavy handed approach made things worse. Leaving was good.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

At the #Ferguson police dept headquarters

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

20. Sunday:

#ferguson #anger

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Still conflicting reports about death of the witness. Police say it's not true. Tempers are rising here in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The protest is turning into a memorial and moving from the #Ferguson Police HQ to the street where #MikeBrown was killed.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Sadness and anger at the site of #MikeBrown's killing in #Ferguson.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Definitely a small group of young men here who are not trying to hear anything having to do with peace, prayer, or non-violence. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

A lot of frustration and misdirected anger right now in #Ferguson following killing of #MikeBrown by police.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Rapper Tef_Poe, @tefpoe) and others speaking outside the #Ferguson police HQ.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The question is what outlet can we give these young men to let out their (justified) anger in a non-violent, constructive manner. Ideas?

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

A group of young men & women who were at the police HQ are now on the corner of W. Florissant and Ferguson with signs. Cars honking support.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Cars honking support for young protestors in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Protestors have blocked West Florissant, a major street in St. Louis County. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

At the site of the killing of #MikeBrown in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

People are blocking police and fire trucks from entering the area. Reportedly answering a call for a heart ...

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The crowd has let the police and fire trucks pass. Lots of kicking and hitting of police vehicles as they pass. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The anger and tension is definitely worse than last night. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Angry men surrounded a tow truck driven by white driver. Started to open his door. 1st time I've had to intervene since I've been here.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Protestors shutting down West Florissant again.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

A huge crowd at the site where #Ferguson Police killed #MikeBrown

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The mother of #MikeBrown receiving hugs and love tonight at the site where her son was killed yesterday

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Thousands converge on West Florissant

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The largest match so far. Headed to West Florissant.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Happening now in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Trying to get the crowd to disburse before things get ugly. Some not happy about it.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Looting and chaos in #Ferguson right now.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The smell of smoke, the sound of helicopters, breaking glass and alarms. #Ferguson right now.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

It has spread to Dellwood.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Lots of cars gathered at W. Florissant & Chambers, outside #Ferguson in neighboring Dellwood. Ppl yelling from cars. The helicopter is here.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Dobbs Tire has also been smashed into in Dellwood.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police are now stationed at the Wal-Mart on W. Florissant to protect it from looters. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police armored vehicle driving down W. Florisant. "St. Louis police. Please return to your homes," they say.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

SWAT outside Walgreens at W. Florisant and Chambers.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

52. Monday:

#Ferguson mayor tells media that anyone who shows up to the rally this morning "will be arrested".

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Cleaning up in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police and protestors in #ferguson right now

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

The crowd has dispersed.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

In #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Still a lot of anger today in #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Young men asking why #MikeBrown wasn't tased instead of shot and killed by #Ferguson police

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Police from all area municipalities have turned the Target parking lot into a huge staging area. #Ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

More police on the scene. They are getting shotguns and rifles out of their trunks.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Small group of peaceful demonstrators at the #Ferguson Police Dept headquarters. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Hearing the sound of police cock their rifles. Right now at W. Florissant and Chambers #ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Right now at W. Florissant and Chambers #ferguson

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Peaceful demonstration at the #Ferguson Police HQ. My fellow STL alderman @shanecohn, rapper @TefPoe, and #BAPS star Anisha are here.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

Shout out to @STLFireDept for being present in #STL County to help if needed. And thx @CFDstlfd for advising that milk helps with tear gas.

— AntonioFrench (@Antonio French)

67. BuzzFeed reached out to French for this article, but did not immediately receive a response.

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact this reporter at michelle@buzzfeed.com