Ferguson Rejects Justice Department’s Report

     FERGUSON, Mo. (CN) – Ferguson, Mo. has rejected a Department of Justice proposal to reform its police and courts and asked for more time to come up with a counteroffer.
     Memorials are planned Sunday for the first anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, and the world will be watching the protesters and the police response. Former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown to death on Aug. 9 last year. Wilson is white; Brown was black. Violent protests followed.
     In response to public outrage, the Department of Justice investigated not just the shooting, but the history, policy and practices of Ferguson police and the city court.
     The Justice Department released a scathing report in March detailing numerous civil rights violations by police and concluding that the city court acted as much, or more as a revenue generator for the city than as a court, targeting black people for fines.
     The municipal court judge, city manager and police chief resigned, and Ferguson and the Justice Department commenced discussions about reforming the police and court.
     “We feel that what they are asking would financially ruin the city,” Councilman Brian Fletcher said this week.
     Fletcher did not offer specifics about why the city rejected the Department of Justice recommendations.
     Mayor James Knowles III declined to characterize the talks, but told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they are continuing and that no one on the City Council is authorized to speak on behalf of the city.
     Nor would the Department of Justice comment.

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