A proposed agreement between Ferguson, Mo., and the U.S. Justice Department provides broad principles under which police officers should operate: Build community trust. Increase transparency. Strengthen accountability. The agreement, negotiated for months behind closed doors, focuses on the details of daily police functions: Wear working body cameras at all times. Don't stop people only to check for warrants. Specifically articulate reasonable suspicion and probable cause when writing reports, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ferguson is asking residents to review the 131-page proposed consent decree between the city and the U.S. Justice Department and give elected leaders their thoughts.
The agreement, which touches on nearly every aspect of the city's police and courts, has the potential to cripple the city financially, and residents have little time to scrutinize it. Over the next two weeks, the city will hold public hearings. On Feb. 9, 18 months after Michael Brown's death, the Ferguson City Council will decide whether to accept its conditions or reject them. Should it choose the latter, Ferguson faces a costly lawsuit from the Justice Department. The proposal allows the city to retain control of the police department and municipal court — two operations critics have called for disbanding, but specifies that Ferguson pay for a monitor to ensure the reforms are implemented — estimated at $350,000 for the first year.