The City Council in Ferguson, Mo., has told the U.S. Justice Department that the inability of residents to review the cost of a federal monitor and proposed reforms is hindering an agreement between the city and federal agency, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Negotiations began months ago, shortly after DOJ denounced Ferguson's police and municipal court for constitutional violations and predatory policing after an investigation after the protests over the 2014 Michael Brown shooting. The the city objects to a DOJ deadline that passed Dec. 8, contending that the city needs time to make residents aware of the cost of a federal monitor, which is projected at $350,000 the first year and $225,000 yearly afterward.
“The citizens of Ferguson must bear some responsibility to make community policing and other programs work and must pay all of the cost associated with the agreement,” says the council in a letter dated Dec. 4. “They are entitled to know how the agreement and the associated costs will affect their families, their financial situation, the services they receive from the city and the overall outlook of the city.” Despite the letter, signs of progress in the negotiations have surfaced over the past week. Emily Davis, a member of a group called the Ferguson Collaborative, said DOJ officials met with the group last week and said Ferguson's reluctance to approve an agreement may be softening and that a settlement could be reached within days. Last week, the collaborative sent letters to city officials requesting that as part of the agreement police undergo recurring training on nonbias and nonprofiling practices and adopt a robust community policing program. Those were the top two concerns that came out of the group's survey of 400 residents this year.