After several months of closed-door negotiations, the City of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a consent decree to address Ferguson’s racially-biased and predatory policing and municipal court practices. Ferguson residents, however, have not been meaningfully involved in the negotiations process that led to this agreement, which will directly impact them.
At the request of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and many Ferguson residents, the City of Ferguson and the DOJ asked the federal court to approve a public hearing that would allow interested persons to provide written and oral comments about the consent decree. Finding that a public hearing is in the interest of justice, Judge Catherine D. Perry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
Ferguson residents and other members of the public now have an opportunity to provide meaningful input to ensure that the decree’s provisions reflect the best viable practices for substantially reforming Ferguson’s police force and municipal court system. Because this consent decree has the potential to serve as a model for other cities, and in anticipation of providing oral testimony at next week’s fairness hearing, LDF prepared written testimony concerning the consent decree, which can be viewed below.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.