Ferguson looks to amend agreement on police overhaul

FERGUSON, Mo. - The Ferguson City Council agreed Tuesday to most proposals in a settlement with the Justice Department that would reform the city's courts and policing systems but also asked for several changes, including some limiting the city's cost.

See Full Article

The changes announced before a crowd of about 300 at the Ferguson Community Center angered many who supported the original consent decree. 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 following seven months of negotiations, but a city analysis over the past few days determined the city's cost would be up to $3.7 million for the first year alone. That prompted concern from some residents and city officials that it would bankrupt Ferguson.

Councilman Wesley Bell, who proposed the changes, said he was confident the Department of Justice would agree.

"I don't think there's anything unreasonable," Bell said.

If the Justice Department doesn't go along with the changes, a civil rights lawsuit is possible, potentially costing Ferguson millions of dollars in legal fees. Messages left late Tuesday with the Department of Justice were not immediately returned.

The biggest change removes a Justice Department requirement that police salaries be raised. City officials believed meeting that provision would also require fire department salaries to rise, potentially costing $1 million annually.

Another provision states that parts of the agreement won't apply to any other governmental entity that could potentially take over duties currently provided by Ferguson. That means, for example, that St. Louis County would not be beholden to the agreement if it eventually takes over policing in Ferguson.

The amended agreement was announced and approved at the end of an often-boisterous meeting moved to the Ferguson Community Center because of the crowd size. The vast majority of speakers supported the original agreement.

Karl Tricamo, 32, shouted out as the council approved the amended deal, wondering why it wasn't announced until the end of the meeting.

"I don't think the DOJ is going to go for this," he said.

Ferguson has been under scrutiny since the fatal police shooting of Brown, whose father stood quietly at the back of the meeting. The black, unarmed 18-year-old was fatally shot Aug. 9, 2014, by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation on a street. Wilson, who later resigned, was cleared of wrongdoing by both a St. Louis County grand jury and the Justice Department.

The agreement requires hiring a monitor, instituting police diversity training, and buying software and hiring staff to analyze records on arrests, use of force and other police matters.

The city previously estimated it will cost $2.2 million to $3.7 million to implement the agreement in the first year, and $1.8 million to $3 million in each of the second and third years.

Some who spoke at the meeting said the cost of the original agreement was simply too high for a city with a $14.5 million budget and already facing a $2.8 million deficit that largely stems from such costs as overtime for police during protests, lost sales tax revenue from businesses damaged in fires and looting, and legal expenses.

"I would rather lose our city by fighting for it in court than lose it by giving into the DOJ's crushing demands," said Susan Ankenbrand, a 41-year resident of Ferguson.

But others said the agreement is important, regardless the cost.

Kayla Green, who is black, said injustices were tolerated for too long in Ferguson. "Cost should never be the reason not to do what's right," she said. "It is time to prioritize justice no matter how much it costs because justice is priceless."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Treyvonne Willis denied new trial

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Manitoba's highest court has denied a new trial for a man who claimed he carried out a contract killing under duress after he was threatened with death himself over a drug debt. Treyvonne Willis, 24, was convicted by a jury in April 2015 of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of 26-year-old Kaila Tran outside her St. Source
  • Hawaii summits could get more than 2 feet of snow

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- The summits of Hawaii's Big Island could get more than two feet of snow, with a winter storm warning in effect through Saturday. Yes, it snows in Hawaii, Matthew Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said he had to explain to some surprised out-of-state callers Friday. Source
  • Toronto-area doctor charged with first-degree murder in wife's death

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police say a Toronto neurosurgeon is to appear in court Saturday facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife. The body of Elana Fric Shamji, 40, was found Thursday in Vaughan, Ont. Source
  • Military advances fight against sexual misconduct

    Canada News CTV News
    Days after victims of military sexual assault raised concerns about lenient sentences, CTV News has learned of a new directive from Canada’s top soldier to remove from their jobs anyone who has committed sexual misconduct. Source
  • What U.S. presidents said about ties with China and Taiwan

    World News CTV News
    President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, a highly unusual and probably unprecedented move since the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 and shifted to diplomatic recognition of China under a so-called "one-China" policy. Source
  • 21 Chinese miners trapped for 4 days confirmed dead

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Twenty-one miners who were trapped for four days after an explosion hit their unlicensed coal mine have been confirmed dead, and four people have been arrested in connection with the disaster, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday. Source
  • Possible faculty member fatally stabbed at USC

    World News CTV News
    Los Angeles officials say a possible faculty member has been fatally stabbed at the University of Southern California. Los Angeles police Officer Drake Madison says the stabbing happened Friday afternoon and that the victim was a possible faculty member. Source
  • Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A professor was stabbed to death on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles on Friday and a suspect arrested in his death is a male student, a police spokeswoman said. Source
  • Amber Alert issued for Layla Sabry, 9, last seen in Welland, Ont.

    Canada News CBC News
    Police in Ontario have issued an Amber alert for a missing nine-year-old girl. Niagara Regional Police say Layla Sabry is believed to have been abducted. They describe Layla as white, about four-foot-two, with a thin build, brown hair, and brown eyes. Source
  • Ontario police cancel Amber Alert, 9-year-old girl still not found

    Canada News CBC News
    Police in Ontario have ended an Amber Alert that was issued Friday for a nine-year-old girl. The Niagara Regional Police Service said it cancelled the alert early Saturday morning, even though the girl had still not been located. Source