Judge OKs Ferguson’s Agreement With DOJ

     ST. LOUIS (CN) — A federal judge on Tuesday approved an agreement between Ferguson and the Justice Department that will bring sweeping changes to the city’s police department and municipal court.
     U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry issued her ruling after more than two dozen people spoke at a public hearing on the agreement that lasted several hours.
     “I think it’s in everyone’s best interest and I think it’s in the interest of justice,” Perry said according to the AP.
     Ferguson approved the agreement in March, avoiding costly and lengthy litigation with the DOJ.
     The agreement includes a monitor; racial bias training for police and municipal court staff; the creation of a community engagement strategy between police and all segments of the Ferguson community; establishment of long-term programs to promote positive police-youth interactions and emphasis on de-escalation and avoidance of using force.
     “Now that the consent decree has been approved by the court, the department is looking forward to working with the city of Ferguson as it implements the decree and continues the essential work to create a police department that the Constitution requires and that residents deserve,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.
     The DOJ investigated the city after Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown to death on Aug. 9, 2014. The ensuing riots and more fatal shooting of black men by white police officers thrust long-simmering problems of racism and excessive force by police into national and world news.
     One year ago, the Department of Justice released a scathing report accusing Ferguson police of targeting blacks and the city of using its municipal court as a revenue generator.
     After months of negotiations, Ferguson and the federal government reached a tentative settlement, but in February the City Council returned the settlement to the Department of Justice with several stipulations and revisions.
     The DOJ responded a day later by suing the city in St. Louis Federal Court.
     The change of heart came after the DOJ in a letter clarified that a provision in the decree does not require the city to give police officers a raise of a particular percentage.
     The DOJ dropped its lawsuit after the agreement’s approval.
     The agreement is expected to cost Ferguson $2.3 million over three years.

%d bloggers like this: