Ferguson residents, activists and the Department of Justice discussed the progress of federally mandated changes to Ferguson courts and policing at a meeting Tuesday.
Natashia Tidwell, the court-appointed monitor overseeing the city’s agreement with the Department of Justice, said Ferguson is mostly in compliance with the consent decree adopted in 2016, meeting or partially meeting 36 of 37 provisions.
Under the decree, Ferguson is required to comply with a number of measures designed to bring vast changes to the city's municipal code and policing practices. The agreement came as a result of the civil rights lawsuit filed against Ferguson in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014.
At a June 2017 meeting, residents and activists complained about a lack of transparency between officials, residents and the Neighborhood Policing Steering Committee. In addition, some at the meeting pointed to missed deadlines that are specifically spelled out in the agreement.
Judge Catherine Perry, who approved the original consent decree, commended the parties for making progress in meeting most of the decree’s requirements. The decree will be lifted once the city of Ferguson is in full compliance with its provisions for two years.
Tidwell said training and accountability measures are in their final stages of completion. Now, she and Ferguson representatives are requesting more staff members to help with police reform. Among the positions would be a school resource officer and an outreach coordinator to help repair the relationship between community and police.
A key provision of the consent decree is granting amnesty to defendants in court cases filed before Jan. 1, 2014, if there is not “good cause” to prosecute.
Apollo Carey, an attorney representing Ferguson, said the city is ahead of schedule in clearing the unresolved cases. So far, defendants in 4,665 cases have been granted amnesty. According to Carey, there are about 2,000 more cases that need to be reviewed and the process should be completed by June.
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