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DOJ And Ferguson Settle Lawsuit Over Racist Police Practices

REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant

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Casey Harper Contributor
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The Department of Justice and the town of Ferguson have settled their lawsuit over the appearance of racially biased police practices.

The DOJ sued Ferguson in February over a “pattern and practice” of racial policing practices in the town, including abusing fines to raise money off primarily black neighborhoods. Ferguson finally agreed to a list of DOJ reform measures Tuesday, and the St. Louis Dispatch reported Thursday night that the DOJ and Ferguson filed a settlement to end the lawsuit.

“The American people must be able to trust that their courts and law enforcement will uphold, protect, and defend their constitutional rights,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.  “The filing of this agreement marks the beginning of a process that the citizens of Ferguson have long awaited – the process of ensuring that they receive the rights and protections guaranteed to every American under the law.”

A DOJ investigation found racist emails within the police department and the city using tickets and fines to raise revenue off black residents. The lawsuit said the city focused on raising money and did not do enough to “decrease or eliminate police misconduct, including discriminatory policing, unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, and the use of unreasonable force.”

The DOJ reform demands include creating a civilian review board, more training for officers, and reforming the court system to end the revenue raising off black residents.

“Ferguson residents and police officers deserve a law enforcement system that serves their entire community fairly, safely and effectively,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.  “The Department of Justice looks forward to working closely with the city as we implement this landmark agreement to ensure that real reform becomes a reality for all people in Ferguson.”

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