Consent Decree

Ferguson Decree monitoring candidates respond to questions from the public
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The four firms competing to monitor Ferguson's compliance with the Department of Justice consent decree are Ebevy YG, Lemire LLC, Squire Patton Boggs, and Police Performance Consultants.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents outside the Ferguson Police Department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson's new police chief said he and U.S. Justice Department officials are "on the same page" about moving forward with reforming the city's police department, following their first in-person meeting Wednesday.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents, supporters and protesters at the city police department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Delrish Moss saw the turmoil and chaos unfold in Ferguson, it hit close to home.

Before he was sworn in on Monday as Ferguson’s top law enforcement officer, Moss spent several decades in the Miami Police Department. He said the unrest that followed Michael Brown’s death was reminiscent of what he’s witnessed firsthand in Miami.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles sits with City Council members as residents comment on the consent decree in February.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:40 p.m. with comments from the U.S. Justice Department — Ferguson's police department and municipal courts are officially operating under a consent decree.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on Tuesday approved the document, settling a federal civil rights lawsuit. Attorneys for both the city of Ferguson and the Department of Justice had asked her to accept the consent decree, which will implement vast changes in the city's municipal code and policing practices.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III listens to public comments on Saturday during a public hearing at the Ferguson Community Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson residents will consider raising taxes next week to fill a big budgetary gap, a potentially critical decision for the beleaguered city.

Before the city approved a consent decree with the federal government, members of the Ferguson City Council placed a sales tax increase and a property tax hike on the April 5 ballot. The sales tax proposal would boost the city’s sales tax rate by 0.5 percent. The property tax item would increase the city’s property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed value.

Michael Brown Sr. shakes hands with Ferguson's City Council members after a special session in which the council voted to agree to the terms of a Department of Justice consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson has decided to adopt the Department of Justice’s consent decree that has made headlines over the past year. The City Council initially rejected the decree and attempted to implement changes. Members have now changed their minds.

“This is the best way for us to move forward together. There’s still a lot of work to be done. This is a step in the right direction,” said Mayor James Knowles.

A group of more than a dozen activists, including Francesca Griffin and Mauraye Love, 9, center, wore bright safety vests and silently interrupted the council meeting to call on the city to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson City Council appears poised to approve a consent decree with the federal government, which aims to transform the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

It’s a move that could ultimately spare a financially struggling town from costly litigation with the Department of Justice.

Council member Wesley Bell answers questions from reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A member of the Ferguson City Council says his colleagues will likely reconsider a sweeping consent decree implementing major changes to the beleaguered city’s police department and government.

The move comes roughly a month after the council rejected aspects of the decree, which came about in the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting death.

The Justice Department slapped the city of Ferguson, Mo., with a civil rights lawsuit this week after the City Council voted to change a proposed settlement agreement to reform the police and courts.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the suit on Wednesday, she said Ferguson police disproportionately targeted black people for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of Tuesday's city council meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” contributor Steve Poetter discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. There was one story on everyone's mind this week that needed further explanation and analysis: the Ferguson consent decree. 

Here’s what we talked about:

Ferguson resident Anthony Cage addresses the mayor and city council members at Saturday's public hearing on the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Community stakeholders continue to give conflicting messages to Ferguson city council members as the council approaches an expected vote Tuesday on a proposed consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The city held its second public forum on the proposed decree Saturday, with a long list of passionate speakers keeping the meeting in session an extra hour. City officials also spent time answering questions raised at the previous forum, and Ferguson’s outside attorney hired to negotiate with the DOJ spoke for about 20 minutes.

Attendees listen as speakers comment on the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree at Ferguson's city council chamber on Feb. 2, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh discussed several of the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and influenced them. 

Here’s what we talked about:

Ferguson City Councilmembers Brian Fletcher, Ella Jones and Wesley Bell take their oaths of office on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson city officials said they are "optimistic" that they will reach a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to overhaul the city's police department and change other policies.

Organization for Black Struggle members organize activists and Ferguson residents into a group outside the Ferguson Police Department Thurs Dec. 3, 2015 to call for public input in the city's consent decree.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As negotiations to reform the Ferguson Police Department continue between the city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice, a group of Ferguson residents spearheaded by the Organization for Black Struggle says it’s concerned that the taxpayers and community members don’t know the details of those negotiations.

The group, known as the Ferguson Collaborative, wants community stakeholders to be able to weigh in at a public “fairness hearing” before a judge signs off on the consent decree.

(courtesy of Ted Heisel/Missouri Coalition for the Environment)

Updated at 5:45 with statement from the Attorney General's office.

Updated at 2:00 with comments from MSD, Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

A federal judge in Missouri has given her approval to a consent decree that requires the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to make billions of dollars in improvements to settle Clean Water Act violations.

(via Ted Heisel/Missouri Coalition for the Environment)

A consent decree that will settle a four-year-old lawsuit against the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District over violations of the Clean Water Act is a step closer to taking effect.