A month ago, after refusing to accept a deal its negotiators made with the Justice Department, the Ferguson, Mo., City Council has accepted the plan, designed to overhaul the city’s courts and police to protect citizens’ rights.
“Tonight, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, took an important step towards guaranteeing all of its citizens the protections of our Constitution,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased that they have approved the consent decree, a document designed to provide the framework needed to institute constitutional policing in Ferguson, and look forward to filing it in court in the coming days and beginning to work with them towards implementation.”
But in the St. Louis suburb where the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement, the city’s approval was granted reluctantly. Tuesday’s unanimous vote in favor of the plan comes after the council first voted not to approve the decree, which had been negotiated extensively between city officials and the Justice Department. The council said part of the plan would be too costly. Knowing that rejecting the plan could result in a lawsuit against the city, the council voted on Feb. 9 to amend the plan instead of passing it.