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Tag: consent decree

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Ferguson City Council’s Problems with Consent Degree Make No Sense

Ferguson protest.

Ferguson protest.

By Editorial Board
St. Louis Post Dispatch

The more we learn about the Ferguson City Council’s decision to reject key terms of a consent decree with the Department of Justice and fight it out in court, the less sense it makes. The council seems intent on inflating cost estimates as a tactic to avoid compliance. Members should reconsider before it’s too late.

“There is no chance, zero, that the city of the Ferguson will prevail in this kamikaze mission,” police accountability expert Scott Greenwood told the Post-Dispatch’s Stephen Deere. “They are never ever likely to get the deal that they had. … It will never be that good again.”

Greenwood works for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been involved in dozens of consent decree negotiations with police departments around the country. None of the precedents augur well for Ferguson’s case. TheDOJ filed suit Feb. 10, the day after the council objected to seven of the 464 points in the consent decree its representatives had negotiated with Justice Department lawyers.

Rather than collaborate and rely on the federal judge who will oversee the agreement to handle sticky issues, the city decided to tug on Superman’s cape. Ferguson officials still don’t quite understand that they can’t wing it anymore.

Ferguson’s objections center on the costs involved. The city’s already got a $2.8 million budget deficit. Its municipal court cash cow has been severely restricted. The cost of monitoring the consent degree has been pegged at $350,000 a year, but other costs have not been publicly quantified. That should have been the first step.

Instead, the city’s estimates keep going up, more than quadrupling in one 10-day period from $800,000 to $3.7 million.

To read more click here. 

Feds Sue Ferguson Over Police Reforms Aimed at Curbing Misconduct

Ferguson protest.

Ferguson protest.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is suing Ferguson to force police reforms in a city accused of a pattern of unconstitutional conduct by law enforcement.

CNN reports the decision to file a lawsuit came after the Ferguson City Council voted Tuesday to alter a deal negotiated for months to crack down on misconduct.

“We intend to aggressively prosecute this case,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters Wednesday, “and we intend to prevail.”

Lynch added: “The residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed to all Americans, for decades. They have waited decades for justice,” Lynch said. “They should not be forced to wait any longer.”

Ferguson officials declined to comment on the suit, which alleges a common practice violating residents’ civil rights.

Department of Justice Reaches Agreement on Consent Decree with Ferguson

ferguson logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An agreement was reached Wednesday between federal officials and leaders in Ferguson, Mo., to end unlawful arrests and excessive force.

The New York Times reports that the agreement still must be approved by the City Council after undergoing public scrutiny.

The pact comes in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.

As a result of the consent decree, Ferguson would be spared an expensive, lengthy court battle.

The pact demonstrates the city’s “commitment to refocusing police and municipal court practices on public safety, rather than revenue generation,” Vanita Gupta, the department’s top civil rights prosecutor, said in a letter to Ferguson.

“It was a sweeping report and the settlement, too, is unusual in its breadth,” the New York Times reports. “It demands changes not only to how and when police officers use force, but to the city’s entire criminal justice system.”

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