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Ferguson Council Revives Deal On Courts And Police, Plans A Vote

Mayor James Knowles (center) and members of the Ferguson City Council listen to citizens speak during a council meeting Tuesday. i

Mayor James Knowles (center) and members of the Ferguson City Council listen to citizens speak during a council meeting Tuesday. Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images
Mayor James Knowles (center) and members of the Ferguson City Council listen to citizens speak during a council meeting Tuesday.

Mayor James Knowles (center) and members of the Ferguson City Council listen to citizens speak during a council meeting Tuesday.

Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

One month after the Department of Justice sued the city of Ferguson, Mo., for changing the terms of a consent decree to overhaul Ferguson's police and legal system, the city's mayor says it's time to accept the original agreement.

If Ferguson's City Council approves the initial form of the consent decree, it would require the city to provide police officers with more training, body cameras, and to take other steps — such as changing how the city runs its court system, which was widely criticized when Ferguson came under the spotlight after the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum reports for our Newscast unit:

"Citing costs concerns, Ferguson officials rejected a consent decree making big changes to the city's police department and court. The Department of Justice promptly sued the city.

"But after receiving a letter from the DOJ promising to control the costs of the agreement, the Ferguson City Council brought the decree back up. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says the council will take a final vote on the measure next week:

" 'Moving forward on passing the decree at this point is the right move going forward for the city. It allows us again to put this lawsuit behind us. It allows us to move forward. Both on the reforms, but also bringing the community together.' "

As Jason previously reported for SLPR, the decision by Ferguson's leaders to change the terms of the 127-page consent decree was made at least in part because of a financial calculation:

"Ferguson finance officials cited an estimated cost between $9.4 million and $15.8 million over five years — compared to $4 million to $8 million to go to court."

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