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Thursday 1 December 2022
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Ferguson Police Reformation Underway After Federal District Judge Signs Off on Consent Decree

Ferguson_Day_7,_Picture_13Last week, a federal judge approved a deal proposed between the city of Ferguson and the Justice Department, seeking to end the patterns of what it deemed as unconstitutional policing and municipal court practices that incited unrest after the shooting of Michael Brown by police in 2014.

After hearing from both supporters and opponents of the deal for hours on end at the federal courthouse, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry signed off on the consent decree that will work to effectively curb unjust police activity through reformation policies. According to the Associated Press, Perry said the settlement was “in everyone’s best interest, and I think it’s in the interest of justice.”

A vast majority of the speakers were either in support of the deal or wanted parts of the consent decree to be stronger, The Huffington Post reports. However, some residents of Ferguson spoke out, saying that they did not recognize the “legitimacy of the complaints of residents” within the majority-black city that were stated on the DOJ report. One (white) resident even went so far to claim at the federal government effectively“empowered the criminal element” in the city.

According to Christy Lopez of the Justice Department, the department’s ongoing investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and municipal court system has been transpiring for a year and a half, and has found that law-abiding citizens do, in fact, have to worry about the police. Then, the Justice Department went on to speak about the patterns of unconstitutional conduct that were identified by federal investigators.

The report found that officials in Ferguson worked to increase the city’s revenues through increased fines and fees that had nothing to do with the safety of the public. Additionally, federal investigators found racist emails sent by high-ranking Ferguson officials and frequent civil rights violations of Ferguson residents — particularly within African American communities. These civil rights violations often results in shootings and unwarranted arrests that undoubtedly contribute to the 52% of male American arrests that transpire within the country.

“We want Ferguson to know how it responded to this crisis,” Lopez said, adding that the Justice Department was invested in helping to “bring about systemic change.”

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