The U.S. Justice Department will sue the city of Ferguson, Missouri, says Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday, according to CNN. The lawsuit is brought forth amid allegations of consistent occurrences of unconstitutional police work in the troubled city.
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) February 10, 2016
This makes it nearly a year since the Department of Justice first threatened to sue Ferguson for racial bias in their policing. The Inquisitr reported that the Ferguson Police Department has a long history of racial bias even before the Wilson-Brown incident.
This time, the Department of Justice’s threats don’t seem so idle given that they had held a press conference stating their intentions to sue the Ferguson Police Department today.
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) February 10, 2016
Department of Justice will sue after Ferguson rejects policing agreement https://t.co/sU1jpnshOK
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 10, 2016
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, commenting on a consent decree the city received on January 26, which is related to the lawsuit being threatened by the Department of Justice, said,
“Although we did not get everything we wanted in the agreement, we certainly made sure that what was agreed upon can be implemented in a timely and sufficient manner”
The Justice Department, in its statement, wrote,
“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.”
Federal authorities then made the decision to sue the defiant Ferguson after the arbitrary change of mind.
“We intend to aggressively prosecute this case, and we intend to prevail. The residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their Constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed to all Americans, for decades. They have waited decades for justice,” Lynch said. “They should not be forced to wait any longer.”
A city spokesman for Ferguson said that the city will have no comment on being sued by the Justice Department until Thursday.
If Ferguson continues to defy the federal lawsuit, then they will end up in federal court, naturally.
The voting delegation would have been unanimous on complying with the Justice Department in Ferguson if it weren’t for one factor.
The main deal breaker for Ferguson was the refusal of the Department of Justice to grant them seven amendments — a request which was not initially agreed upon.
The mayor also told a Missouri news station, KMOV, that “We’re not trying to take away any safeguards. We’re not trying to take away anything substantive out of the decree.”
Quite contrary to his statement, as stated on Justice.gov, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, said that the Ferguson City Council has unilaterally amended the negotiated agreement. Their vote will create unnecessary delays in the reform process to bring constitutional policing to Ferguson.
The disagreement between the Department of Justice and Ferguson is a residual effect left behind by the deadly shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Brown was slain by Officer Darren Wilson in August of 2014.
The shooting of Brown is at the forefront of the events which brought more media attention than ever to police violence against minorities. The incident is also a prominent driving factor for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
National outcries for police reform have been rampant ever since, and the Ferguson Police Department may be the first one on the hot seat for reform.
Ferguson had seven months to fully comply with the Justice Department terms for reform.
Do you think that we will truly see police reform implemented in Ferguson in the near future?
[Photo via AP Images/Charles Rex Arbogast]