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The Justice Department Sues Ferguson to Enforce Reforms

“There is no price when it comes to constitutional policing,” says Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces a federal lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces a federal lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri.Carolyn Kaster/AP

This time last year, the U.S. Department of Justice handed down a damning report on the state of law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri. The reforms called for by the federal investigation into the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, and the subsequent discovery of excessive policing and an unfair system of court fees and traffic fines, amounted to a top-to-bottom recommended rewrite of how the city polices its residents and funds its operations.

City and federal officials then spent 26 weeks negotiating what reform for Ferguson would look like. But instead of taking up the negotiated settlement, Ferguson balked. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Ferguson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject a court-enforceable consent decree with the Obama administration. Today, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department will file a federal suit against Ferguson.