USA Today reports that
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is suing the city of Ferguson in an attempt to forcibly overhaul the city’s troubled police and court operations, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday.
The decision comes hours after city leaders sought to revise a long- negotiated settlement, citing prohibitive costs of executing such a deal.
“There is no cost for constitutional policing,” Lynch said late Wednesday.
“Painstaking negotiations lasted more than 26 weeks as we sought to remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies,” she said of the government’s action, which followed a public announcement last month of a tentative agreement that the attorney general described as “both fair and cost-effective . . . Last night, the City Council rejected the consent decree approved by their own negotiators; their decision leaves us no further choice.”
Lynch said the residents of Ferguson have been waiting “decades for justice,” having endured civil rights breaches that established a pattern and practice of racially biased policing .
“I think the city of Ferguson had a real opportunity to step forward here,” a visibly disappointed attorney general said. “Instead, they have chosen to step in the past.”
Earlier Wednesday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles signaled that the city was ready to take on the Justice Department in federal court. He defended Ferguson’s unanimous decision to revise the agreement by removing language from the agreement, which local leaders asserted, mandated big raises for police officers.
Local leaders also sought to free the city from its obligations under the agreement should Ferguson seek to shutter the police department altogether and enlist another agency to provide public safety services.
“The ball is in their court,” Knowles said at a hastily called news conference in Ferguson. “We’re sitting and waiting to talk. If they want to threaten legal action, then that’s what they’re threatening.”
The threat became reality within hours of the mayor’s appearance when the Justice lawsuit was filed in a Missouri federal court, alleging local law enforcement conduct routinely violated the Constitution.
“The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe,” Lynch said. “They have waited nearly a year for their police department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights and that thousands of other police departments follow every day.”
“I don’t know if I’d characterize it as an absolute agreement in principle,” Knowles said. “Also an agreement in principle doesn’t allow you to assign a numerical value of every piece of the agreement.”
The push to amend the deal comes after Knowles and council members raised concerns it could cost nearly $10 million over the next three years to implement.
The city of 21,000 has a budget of about $14 million and is facing about $2.8 million in debt after the August 2014 police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, sparked weeks of sustained and often violent protests. Much of the debt accrued from police overtime during the unrest following Brown’s death and lost tax revenue from businesses destroyed or badly damaged in rioting.
A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the officer involved in the incident, and the Justice Department said it would not pursue federal civil rights charges against him. But the incident and subsequent protests led Justice to launch a wide-ranging investigation, concluding nearly a year ago that the city’s police and municipal court unfairly targeted African-American residents, who make up about 70% of the population.
Ferguson’s troubles and similar problems in cities across the country prompted a national discussion on police tactics and the appointment of a special White House panel, which in part urged the adoption of new strategies to rebuild a broken trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
In Ferguson, city leaders hosted a series of emotionally-charged hearings this month on whether it should ratify the tentative Justice settlement. Some residents urged the City Council to reject the deal and take their chances in court. Others favored the agreement as a way for the city to regain the trust of a wary African-American community.
Wesley Bell, a Ferguson council member, said members of the council felt it was important present their concerns about the costs of implementing the deal. He said the amendments to the agreement were not meant to be a “take it or leave it” offer.
“We hope the Justice Department is willing to sit down and talk to us and continue negotiations,” Bell said. “If this case goes to court, it will not be because of the city of Ferguson.”
Proponents of Justice agreement noted that fighting a legal battle would be costly and could prove more expensive in the long-term than settling now. Knowles disputed that notion Wednesday, saying the city’s analysis shows “the agreement, as it currently stands, will cost more to implement than it would be to fight a lawsuit.”
“Substantially more,” Knowles added.
Meanwhile, in my Hometown of Memphis, TN, 4 Black Americans died yesterday, killed by other Black Americans.
And, this past month, in the Windy City of Chicago, which has some of the strictest Gun Control Laws in the nation, newsmax.com reports that
Chicago’s homicide rate jumped to a 15-year high in January after authorities recorded 51 murders in the first month of the year.
The homicide increase was a sharp rise from the 29 murders reported in January 2015, and 20 in 2013, according to USA Today. Overall, there were 241 shooting incidents in January, an increase from 119 such incidents last year.
The “unacceptable increase in violence was driven primarily by gang conflicts and retaliatory violence,” said Chicago’s interim police superintendent, John Escalante, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Well, I realize that I’m just an ig’nant old cracka’, living down here in the Bible Belt, but, it occurs to me that if the Ferguson, New York City., and Baltimore Rioters, murders, and other assorted lawbreakers (paid and unpaid…thank you, George Soros) had jobs, they would not have been “so mistreated ” at the hands of those mean ol’ Police Officers (White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic).
So, perhaps the President of the United States should focus his attention to giving “his people” (who are actually supposed to be all of us) educational training and the cultural impetus to exercise personal responsibility, in order to gain employment, be men and women, support their families, and thrive as Americans.
A few years ago, I worked at our county’s State Employment Center Office.
While at the Employment Office, I was able to observe Americans, both Black and White, down on their luck, struggling to find work and survive in this economy. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of “unemployed ” who came to this particular office were Black.
I saw Black American Families whose existence living on the Government Dole, had become generational.
It is these people whom Obama and the Democrats have hypnotized into believing that Uncle Sugar loves them, and is their only solution to surviving a stifling existence.
They are so, so wrong.
The strength and vitality of America does not come from the benevolence of a Nanny-state Federal Government.
As the greatest American President of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan said:
The nine words you never want to hear are: I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.
Being enslaved to the Government Dole steals one’s ambition. It takes away any impetus or desire to create a better life for yourself and your family, to challenge yourself to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and pursue the American Dream. It makes you reliant on a politically motivated spider’s web full of government bureaucrats who view you and your family as job security.
I watched American citizens trapped in this web of government bureaucracy, so numbed of any initiative that they once had, that they seemed offended that they actually had to prove that they inquired about three jobs that week in order to keep their “benefits”. Others seemed puzzled that they had to search through the state data base and pick out a job that they wanted to talk to an interviewer about receiving a referral to, and weren’t just simply handed a job when they walked through the door.
Instead of moving forward, by exercising the self-reliance that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached so well, these people I saw, were content on being “taken care of” by Uncle Sugar, as if being held down by their own poor, miserable circumstance, was a good thing.
Dr. King, I am sorry to tell you that racism and injustice is still going on in America. Unfortunately, it will not end any time soon, There are two many race-baiters profiting off of it.
Including, the President of the United States.
The part of your magnificent speech about “the content of their character” has been purposefully ignored by the professional race-baiters and assorted politicians (but, I repeat myself) for the entire 7 years that the “Firt Post-Racial President” has been in office.
Dr. King, your call for self-reliance took a back seat to the self-serving agenda of Professional Race-Baiters, such as “Community Organizers” and Politicians, a long time ago.
And, those who sacrifice themselves, while serving and protecting us on the streets of America everyday, make convenient scapegoats, for the Political Failure of the Great Society.
Until He Comes,