shooting of unarmed Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson police
officer Darren Wilson exposed tension between the city
government and the largely black community outside St. Louis.
Ferguson erupted into violent protests in 2014 after a grand
jury chose not to indict the officer.
It was one of a series of highly publicized killings of black
men, mostly by white police officers, that set off a nationwide
debate about the use of police force, especially against
In the meeting at City Hall, Ferguson resident John Knowles said
he had a problem with the Department of Justice singling out the
"I think it's wrong that the city of Ferguson is bearing the
brunt for a countywide issue," Knowles said.
More than 100 people were prevented from attending the meeting
when the meeting room reached its 120-person capacity, leaving
many grumbling in a parking lot.
"Out-of-towners don't belong here," Ferguson resident Maryellen
Moylan shouted toward the door. "This is not right. We don't
have representation. We demand representation."
The Justice Department's sharply critical report last year
documented discriminatory actions by Ferguson police and the
municipal court system, especially against blacks.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the Ferguson Police
Department would be required to give its officers bias-awareness
training and implement a strong accountability system.
The department would have to ensure that police stop, search and
arrest practices do not discriminate on the basis of race or
other protected characteristics.
The settlement would also require the city to change its
municipal code, including sections that impose prison time for
failure to pay certain fines and an ordinance used against
individuals who do not comply with police orders.
Ferguson's City Council plans to vote next Tuesday on whether to
accept the agreement. Two more public meetings are set for
Saturday and next Tuesday, and written comments will be taken
before the vote.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago and Sue Britt in
Ferguson, Mo. Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney)
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