Tag: Ferguson Police Department

U.S. Justice Department Sues Ferguson, Mo., to Force Police Reform

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch ce Department (Photo via newsweek.com)
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (Photo via newsweek.com)

article by Stephan A. Crockett, Jr. via theroot.com

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday that the Department of Justice has filed a federal lawsuit against Ferguson, Mo., after the City Council voted Tuesday to change the terms of a deal that would have brought sweeping changes to the city’s embattled Police Department.

“The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe,” Lynch said, according to ABC News. “They have waited nearly a year for their Police Department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights. … They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer.”

The Justice Department launched an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department last year after the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. Wilson was not charged in the shooting, but the Justice Department investigation found “systemic and systematic racial bias within the force’s policing practices,” ABC reports.

The findings of the investigation were announced last year, and the city of Ferguson and the Justice Department began negotiations that ABC notes lasted 26 weeks, seeking an agreement that would address the Justice Department’s findings.

In January it was announced that the two sides had reached a tentative agreement that was set to include a complete overhaul of basic policing practices, including “how officers conduct stops, searches and arrests, use their firearms and respond to demonstrations,” among other significant changes, the Associated Press reports.

ABC notes that Ferguson leaders, however, had always balked at the tentative agreement, which they estimated would cost the city $3.7 million during the first year alone.

Ferguson, U.S. Department of Justice Near Deal to Reform Police Department

US-POLICE-RACISM-UNREST

Nine months after the United States Justice Department released a damning report detailing the racial biased practices of the Ferguson Police Department, the Missouri city and DOJ officials are nearing a reform deal that will likely effect change and overhaul what has been called “unconstitutional” policing.

The report, released earlier this year, was prompted by the death of Michael Brown — a Black Ferguson teenager who was fatally shot by former police officer Darren Wilson. Last November, a grand jury elected not to indict Wilson on criminal charges.

According to the New York Times, the agreement is set to include new training for officers and new-improved record keeping. But the changes won’t come easy or cheap, the Times notes.

Completing the deal, however, will require support from diverse factions of Ferguson’s leadership, which will have to sell residents on the idea of a federal policing monitor and of huge new expenses for a city that is already struggling financially. Some officials said a local tax increase appears unavoidable, which in Missouri requires approval from voters…

The two sides have been negotiating for several months, after a scathing Justice Department report in March described Ferguson as a city where police officers often stop and arrest people without cause, where the court operates as a moneymaking venture, and where officers used excessive force almost exclusively against blacks.

The deal’s anticipated close was confirmed by Mayor James Knowles III, who, in a telephone interview, told the Times the city has made “tremendous progress.”

“We’re at a point where we have addressed any necessary issues, and assuming it is not cost prohibitive, we would like to move forward,” Mr. Knowles said.

“The talks with the city of Ferguson to develop a monitored consent decree have been productive,” Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said in a statement. “The department believes that in order to remedy the Justice Department’s findings, an agreement needs to be reached without delay.”

The agreement would allow the city to avoid a lawsuit from the Justice Department.

article via newsone.com

2 Ferguson Police Officers Quit & 1 Clerk Is Fired After Racist Emails Are Made Public From Justice Report

Ferguson Police Department
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

Three Ferguson employees are currently out of jobs after racist emails discovered during the course of the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of the city’s racial bias against African-Americans in the police department and judicial system. Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd of the Ferguson police department resigned from the force on Thursday and the city’s top court clerk Mary Ann Twitty was fired earlier in the week once emails showing President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee were found in the DOJ’s investigation.  CNN is reporting several of the employees shared and forwarded the emails but none of them were punished, until now.

Other disgusting emails featured a topless woman dancing in Africa with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion,” was sent Oct. 2011 and in June of that year of a man being described as attempting to place his dogs on welfare due to the animals being “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy can’t speak  English and have no … clue who their Daddies are.” Meanwhile, demands for Police Chief Thomas Jackson’s removal from office were made yet again, after the DOJ cleared ex-cop Darren Wilson who gunned down unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, of federal civil rights charges.There is no evidence which suggest Jackson and other police administrators were aware of the emails.

In the DOJ’s report, it described a “pattern and practice” held by the Ferguson police and courts of discrimination against Blacks. The report revealed black drivers were more than twice as likely than others to be searched during a traffic stop, face excessive force by the police during unnecessary stops.

article by Jillian Bowe via hellobeautiful.com

Ferguson Police Department to Seek More Black Recruits; No Severance for Darren Wilson

March from Ferguson to Jefferson City
NAACP members and supporters pass by an auto parts store in Ferguson, Mo., that was destroyed by rioters as they walk Saturday on the first day of a planned seven-day, 120-mile march to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Knowles spoke at a news conference a day after Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, resigned from the police force. Wilson did not receive severance pay, Knowles said.

Also Sunday, the White House announced that President Obama would hold several Ferguson-related events Monday.  Obama will meet with his Cabinet to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.  Then he will meet with civil rights leaders and later with law enforcement officials and community and faith leaders “to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust,” the White House said.

In Ferguson, the mayor said that adding a civilian review board and recruiting more African Americans would help improve the predominantly white police department’s relationship with Ferguson’s predominantly African American residents.

“We are committed to rebuilding our city,” Knowles said. “And a part of that is having officers invested in the community.”

In addition, Knowles said, the city will unveil a program in public schools that will aim to forge a bond between police officers and young people.

“We are here for you and will not leave you,” Knowles told residents.

For much of the last week, sometimes-violent protests have roiled the St. Louis suburb of about 21,000 after the grand jury’s decision.

When Wilson resigned Saturday, he said in a letter that he was told his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the city of Ferguson at risk.”

“It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal,” Wilson wrote. “I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”

Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, said the officer had resigned after learning of threats of violence against other officers and the department.  Knowles said Sunday he was unaware of any specific threats to Wilson and did not give him a deadline for a resignation.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said Sunday he would not resign, despite widespread criticism from protesters and calls for him to step down.  “My focus has been on safety and security of citizens,” Jackson said. “I report to the leadership of Ferguson. I’m concerned about the city. I will not resign.”

Jackson said he spoke with Wilson last week and was unaware of any specific threats to him. But Jackson added, “It’s been a threatening environment all along. Everybody knows that.”

Separately, Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing Brown’s family, said Sunday that Wilson’s resignation was no surprise.

“The family will pursue all the legal avenues,” Crump told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Crump said a wrongful-death lawsuit could be filed in the near future.

Continue reading “Ferguson Police Department to Seek More Black Recruits; No Severance for Darren Wilson”

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