The Department of Justice is suing the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the lawsuit this afternoon following the Ferguson City Council’s decision to amend parts of their agreement with the DOJ for police and municipal court reform.
Last summer, the DOJ released a report which found that the Ferguson Police Department had a demonstrated practice of discrimination against black citizens. They also found that law enforcement violated the constitutional rights of protesters during the 2014 demonstrations following the fatal shooting of Mike Brown.
After seven months of negotiations, the Ferguson City Council and the Justice Department reached an agreement on reforms which included an electronic complaint tracking system and additional training throughout the police department. On Tuesday, the City Council voted to include seven new amendments, but the DOJ isn’t interested. Via CNN:
The Justice Department wasn’t expecting any changes to the negotiated deal and wasted little time in responding.
“The Ferguson City Council has attempted to unilaterally amend the negotiated agreement,” Vanita Gupta, head of the agency’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Their vote to do so creates an unnecessary delay in the essential work to bring constitutional policing to the city, and marks an unfortunate outcome for concerned community members and Ferguson police officers.”
In her statement today, Attorney General Lynch said that she was disappointed by the outcome and promised to aggressively pursue the case.
Federal authorities had no other choice but to file a lawsuit against the city after the Ferguson City Council voted to change the terms of a consent decree, Lynch said.
“We intend to aggressively prosecute this case,” she told reporters, “and we intend to prevail.”
“The residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their Constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed to all Americans, for decades. They have waited decades for justice,” Lynch said. “They should not be forced to wait any longer.”
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