U.S. judge approves court, police accord for Ferguson, Missouri

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2016 5:08 PM

(Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday approved an agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and Ferguson, Missouri, to reform the city's police department after the 2014 shooting of an unarmed black teenager that sparked violent protests, a city spokesman said.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry of Missouri's Eastern District approved the accord, spokesman Jeff Small said. "It is now an official consent decree, effective today," he added.

The agreement requires police officers in the St. Louis suburb to undergo bias-awareness training and the department must implement an accountability system.

The city also agreed that police must ensure that stop, search and arrest practices do not discriminate on the basis of race or other factors protected under law.

The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old African-American, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, exposed friction between the city government and the largely black community. Ferguson erupted into violent protests in 2014 after a grand jury chose not to indict the officer.

The Ferguson city council approved the agreement in March after receiving assurances from the Justice Department that it would work with Ferguson to ensure it would not cripple city finances.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)