The Slatest

City of Ferguson Agrees to Policing Reforms in Proposed Deal With Department of Justice

An officer and a protester outside the the Ferguson police department building on Aug. 7, 2014.

Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

A federal investigation into Michael Brown’s August 2014 death in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson cleared Wilson of wrongdoing, finding that Brown had reached into Wilson’s vehicle during their confrontation and that Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot and killed him. But a parallel investigation whose results were released in March 2015 also found that Ferguson’s police and municipal court system systematically abused black citizens’ civil rights, a conclusion that has now led to a proposed “consent decree” agreement between Ferguson and the Department of Justice that would institute significant reforms. From NPR:

The 127-page proposed agreement creates guidelines for training police officers on issues like when they should use force and how they can “reorient Ferguson’s use-of-force policies toward de-escalation and avoiding force.” The agreement also requires body-worn cameras and an overhaul of the municipal court system.

Importantly, and like other agreements in the past, it requires the selection and appointment of an independent monitor.

To become final, the agreement will need to be ratified by Ferguson’s city council and approved by a judge.

The pursuit of civil-rights-related consent decree reforms has been a priority of the Obama Justice Department; the city of Cleveland agreed to a decree earlier this year, while similar plans may also be in the works in Baltimore and Chicago.