The Ferguson City Council has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for seven changes to a deal to reform the city’s courts and policing systems, a move that drew swift criticism from both the department and many residents.
In a unanimous vote, the council on Tuesday night moved to amend the proposed settlement that the city had spent seven months negotiating with the DOJ. The consent decree is intended to correct problems identified in a federal investigation that followed the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
The federal report noted unconstitutional and discriminatory practices across the police force and municipal court system. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said Wednesday that the changes were deemed necessary after a detailed financial analysis showed just how expensive the original agreement would be – so expensive, Knowles said, that it could lead to dissolution of Ferguson.
“We’re not trying to reopen negotiations. We tried to tell them what the city council will agree to,” Knowles said. If the DOJ opts to sue Ferguson, “we’ll have to deal with that in court,” Knowles said.
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