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Ferguson asks for changes to DoJ decree on court, police reform

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 10, 2016 at 7:01 AM
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FERGUSON, Mo., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Ferguson, Mo., City Council unanimously asked the Department of Justice for several changes to be made to a consent decree before an agreement to reform the city's court and police can proceed.

In a 6-0 vote, the decree was sent back to the Justice Department with seven proposed amendments. The vote would authorize the deal only if the changes are accepted.

A federal investigation of the policies of the city government, courts and police, launched after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer -- prompting days of protests and riots -- accused the city of illicitly augmenting its budget and using predatory tactics violating the Constitution.

The Justice Department recommended several reforms, including new police use-of-force policies; additional training for officers; body camera requirements; and a plan for community policing. The proposed consent decree could cost Ferguson, a city already facing a budget shortfall, more than $1.5 million a year. Another $350,000 per year would be required to monitor the city's progress in realizing the improvements.

"The Department of Justice must accept the seven amendments in order for the settlement agreement to be valid," a city council statement reads.

Protestors March Against Police Violence in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/UPI

The seven amendments:

1. The agreement contains no mandate for the payment of additional salary to police department or other city employees.

2. The agreement contains no mandate for staffing in the Ferguson Jail.

3. Deadlines set forth in the agreement are extended.

4. The terms of the agreement shall not apply to other governmental entities or agencies who, in the future, take over services or operations currently being provided by the city of Ferguson.

5. A provision for local preference in contracting with consultants, contractors and third parties providing services under the agreement shall be included.

6. Project goals for minority and women participation in consulting, oversight and third party services shall be included.

7.The monitoring fee caps in the side agreement are changed to $1 million over the first five years with no more than $250,000 in any single year.

"If the Department of Justice accepts the seven amendments, it is expected that the amended settlement agreement will be filed with the federal court in St. Louis for approval by the federal judge," the statement adds.

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