Ferguson, MO (KTRS) The consent degree is going back to the Department of Justice after the Ferguson City Council approved an amended version of the proposal at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The meeting drew hundreds in anticipation of the Ferguson City Council taking firm action on the proposal. A majority of those who spoke during the public comment session, urged the council to approve the consent degree.
Instead the council approved a revised proposal. One of the amendments calls for removing a provision that would have mandated raises for police and firefighters. Another calls for getting rid of a clause that makes the agreement apply to any agency that might take over policing in Ferguson.
After the vote, many in the audience shouted their disappointed, which led to chants: “Can’t amend justice” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”
Mayor James Knowles says however, the key points of the agreement remain in place. “The spirit of the decree is still very much intact. We’re not trying to take away any safeguards.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice quickly responded to the council’s unanimous vote in a released statement:
Statement from Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta Regarding Ferguson, Missouri, City Council Vote on Proposed Consent Decree
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, released the following statement regarding the Ferguson, Missouri, City Council vote on the proposed consent decree with the Department of Justice:
“The Ferguson City Council has attempted to unilaterally amend the negotiated agreement. Their vote to do so creates an unnecessary delay in the essential work to bring constitutional policing to the city, and marks an unfortunate outcome for concerned community members and Ferguson police officers. Both parties engaged in thoughtful negotiations over many months to create an agreement with cost-effective remedies that would ensure Ferguson brings policing and court practices in line with the Constitution. The agreement already negotiated by the department and the city will provide Ferguson residents a police department and municipal court that fully respects civil rights and operates free from racial discrimination.
“The Department of Justice will take the necessary legal actions to ensure that Ferguson’s policing and court practices comply with the Constitution and relevant federal laws.”
The council also voted to appoint Laverne Mitchom to the council seat of the late Brian Fletcher.