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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ferguson May Reconsider Civil Rights Deal

FERGUSON, Mo. (CN) - The Ferguson City Council is expected to reconsider a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that it rejected in February.

After months of negotiations, the council sent back the settlement with several revisions. The city council cited several concerns including the decree applying to any other agency that provides policing to the city.

Critics claimed that change would have allowed Ferguson to circumvent most of the settlement by disbanding its police department.

The DOJ responded the next day by filing a lawsuit against Ferguson.

The change of heart comes with a new appointment to the city council. At the same meeting in which it rejected the settlement, the City Council appointed Laverne Mitchom to fill a vacant council seat. Mitchom participated in the protests that sparked the settlement.

Sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a vote, possibly in Tuesday, would take place regarding the settlement. The vote would take place before the April municipal election.

The DOJ opened an investigation into the practices of the Ferguson police department after Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot by then Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

Brown's death sparks months of often violent protests and opened up a national dialogue on racism and excessive force by police.

Last March, the DOJ released a scathing report claiming Ferguson police unfairly targeted blacks for traffic stops and other offenses and that Ferguson used its municipal court as a revenue generator.

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