The Latest: DOJ says Ferguson creating 'unnecessary delay'

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Posted: Feb 10, 2016 12:55 AM
The Latest: DOJ says Ferguson creating 'unnecessary delay'

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on a police and court reform agreement between Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice (all times local):

11:45 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Justice says the Ferguson City Council has created an "unnecessary delay" in efforts to reforms its police and court systems.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to add several changes to a proposed settlement with the department that was reached after seven months of negotiations. Some of the changes seek to reduce the city's cost of implementing the consent decree.

Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement after the vote that it marks "an unfortunate outcome" for community members and police officers.

If the Justice Department doesn't go along with the changes, a civil rights lawsuit is possible.

Gupta didn't specifically address whether a lawsuit would be filed but said in the statement the department will take "the necessary legal actions" to ensure Ferguson's police and court practices comply with the Constitution and federal laws.

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9:30 p.m.

The Ferguson City Council has agreed to most reforms proposed in a consent agreement with the U.S. Justice Department but is also asking for several changes, including some limiting the city's cost.

The changes announced Tuesday before a packed crowd of about 300 at the Ferguson Community Center were met with anger by many who supported the original agreement that would reform the city's courts and policing systems. Several protesters began chanting, "No justice, no peace," and other refrains common during protests in the St. Louis suburb after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in 2014.

The settlement had been reached after seven months of negotiations, but a city analysis determined Ferguson's cost would be up to $3.7 million for the first year alone. That prompted concern it would bankrupt Ferguson.

It isn't immediately clear if the Justice Department will approve the amended agreement. Messages left late Tuesday were not returned.

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8:15 p.m.

The father of Michael Brown is among the more than 300 people at the meeting where the Ferguson City Council is expected to vote on a police and court reform agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Michael Brown Sr. showed up after the meeting began at the Ferguson Community Center, quietly taking a place at the back of the room.

Some speakers opposed the consent agreement out of fear it could bankrupt the St. Louis suburb, but many others favored it.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot on Aug. 9, 2014, during a street confrontation with a Ferguson police officer. The officer wasn't charged, but a Justice Department report was critical of Ferguson police and court practices.

City leaders say the agreement would cost up to $3.7 million in the first year alone.

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2:15 p.m.

The Ferguson City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a police and court reform proposal with the U.S. Department of Justice, an agreement that would cost the St. Louis suburb millions of dollars.

The consent decree would require hiring a monitor, training police on diversity, giving significant pay raises to officers, and buying software and hiring staff to analyze records on arrests, use of force and other police matters.

The city estimates it would cost up to $3.7 million to implement the agreement in the first year alone. Ferguson could face a federal lawsuit if the council rejects the agreement.

Ferguson has been under scrutiny since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. The officer who killed him has since resigned but was cleared of wrongdoing.