Ferguson, MO (KTRS) Ferguson residents are voicing their concerns over the tentative agreement with the Department of Justice.
The first of three public meetings was held Tuesday night to gather public feedback on the issue. It was standing room only, with many left waiting outside as the council chambers quickly filled to capacity. Several residents expressed anger over the meeting not being held at a larger venue that would accommodate the turn out. Some also complained that many non-residents made it inside of the meeting.
The issue seems generated division among residents.Mary Ellen Moylan had this to say. “This whole thing will bankrupt us whether they agree to sign the consent degree or they go to litigation. It’s designed to break the city of Ferguson.”
Jim Elliott is another resident who is against the proposal: “I think its an act of criminality on the part of the DOJ. They’re trying to take away the rights of the citizens of Ferguson to run their own community. There’s an entity or a person called a monitor. That sounds to me like a monarch or a king. That’s going to take away my rights as a citizen to have any kind of a say so.”
Lee Smith, who ran for the Ferguson City Council last year, says although the agreement will be costly, it will cost the city far more not to sign the agreement. By signing the agreement, it would likely avert a legal battle.
Smith also says reforms are needed. “The people that have been adversely impacted are minorities, poor people” by practices that ” weren’t constitutional.”
The next public meeting on the proposed DOJ agreement is planned for Saturday. The third is scheduled on February 9th, when the city council is expected to vote on the proposal.