Ferguson Council approves federal plan to overhaul police department and court system
Mar 17, 2016 08:09 PM EDT
On Tuesday, the Ferguson council reached an agreement with the Department of Justice pertaining to its plan in overhauling the city's police department and court systems.
According to Sputnik News, the city council voted and approved a settlement with the Justice Department in their planned action. It was a unanimous voting where the council had reversed their efforts and leading to avoid a possible costly lawsuit with the federal government. Now, Ferguson will start their deliberate and costly process for reforms in their criminal justice after their white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man in 2014.
The news is pertaining to Michael Brown, who was killed in August 2014 as reported by Vice. After the incident, DOJ conducted their own lengthy investigation which led to them discovering a documented pattern of discriminatory and unconstitutional conduct by their police and municipal court. They are said to be treating residents as ATM as they want people to pay them with fines for petty offenses rather than bring justice to the public safety. U.S.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said "These violations were not only egregious, they were routine. They were encouraged by the city in the interest of raising revenue." She added that these are brought out mostly to African American residents.
Following this settlement, residents of Ferguson detailed their own thoughts as reported by New York Times. According to Cassandra Butler, "I know that this has been a long journey for all of us, but I am so looking forward to the opportunity for the city to turn this page." The meeting done at the local church was not observed to be crowded as the previous discussions and almost all of the people inside spoke in favor of signing the decree.
Meanwhile, after the vote, Michael Brown Sr., father of the slayed 18-year old, shook hands with Mayor James Knowles III. In a statement, Brown said it's beautiful, a good feeling and it is a great knowing that the choices presented were the good ones. The reform will change police to stun guns, shooting of moving vehicles, and new guidelines for stops and searches conducted.