Ferguson

Justice Dept. Wastes No Time Filing Civil Rights Suit Against Ferguson

City Council wanted some changes to agreement to reform police and courts.

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You know who else gets a lot of money from fines and forfeitures?
Credit: US Mission Geneva / photo on flickr

Less than 24 hours after the City Council of Ferguson, Missouri, asked for some changes to an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reform the abusive and predatory practices of the city's police and courts, Attorney General Loretta Lynch came out to announce a federal lawsuit against the city.

The DOJ made it pretty clear it was happening in response to the City Council's decision (which I covered here this morning), but I'm not sure people expected it would happen so quickly. Clearly, the lawsuit was being prepared in advance for this eventuality.

The lawsuit gives plenty of examples of the kind of abuses that took place in Ferguson:

Ferguson suit

Read the full lawsuit here. The lawsuit is asking the courts to intervene and order the city to fix its many issues with violating the civil liberties of the citizens.

Lynch held a short press conference in the afternoon that was a bit vague and not very illuminating. She (and presumably the Department of Justice) characterize Ferguson's City Council's request for seven changes in its agreement with the DOJ as a rejection of the agreement entirely.

There were journalists there to ask questions, but to be blunt, they weren't particularly helpful. While some of them seem aware of the financial situation that the city used as a justification for the proposed changes, nobody asked any specific questions about the seven changes. It's not even clear whether any of the journalists there even knew what was on the list of changes. Nobody asked Lynch why exactly this agreement to fix civil rights abuses included a mandate to increase the wages of Ferguson's police officers, even though that was clearly a primary concern of Ferguson city leaders when they were mulling over the agreement. One journalist did ask Lynch what she thought of Beyonce's latest music video (prompting me to lose it on Twitter).  Lynch herself acted as though she didn't know any of the specifics of what the City Council wanted changed.

Something Lynch did emphasize that might be important to the conflict is that the DOJ worked with Ferguson city staff to create this agreement to be presented to the City Council. So that raises the question as to where components of the agreement that have nothing to do with reforming Ferguson police and courts came from. Maybe we shouldn't be assuming that it was the DOJ who put that section requiring  "that the City will offer salaries that will place [Ferguson Police Department] among the most competitive similarly sized agencies in St. Louis county." But nevertheless, why would they agree to it? It has absolutely nothing to do with police reform and instead looks like it's actually rewarding police who have misbehaved with likely raises.

The lawsuit is focused on the police department and court's abuses, so there's no references to wages or salaries that I could find in this legal action. I wondered idly whether the DOJ would have to justify before a judge why they were trying to force salary controls into its agreement, but this doesn't look like it's a lawsuit trying to force Ferguson to accept the agreement. Rather, it's a lawsuit to get a judge to intervene to fix the problem, which may involve bringing that agreement back into play if the judge finds in the DOJ's favor, but we'll have to see. 

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  1. Lynch held a short press conference in the afternoon that was a bit vague and not very illuminating.

    That’ll be like the Encyclopaedia Britannica compared to the press conference she holds about the email non-indictments.

  2. So,when is Lynch going to put the hammer down on Chicago? Huh,Huh?

    1. Baby steps.

      And by that I mean the sort of baby you flashbang in a crib.

    2. ‘So,when is Lynch going to put the hammer down on *Hillary*? Huh,Huh?’

      Just sort of reminding people…

  3. I notice they don’t mention if the dog was black.

    1. You know what else was German that was set loose on political minorities…

      1. Germany’s anti-homeschooling policy?

        (Incidentally, Reason seems to have missed the Petra Albrecht story and I only found it when I was looking for a link in support of my joke. Pretty sad.)

        1. After shipping her back to Germany, the U.S. can compensate by admitting some Syrian migrants.

          /sarc

  4. The justification for the salary increase was that it would allow Ferguson to attract better-qualified applicants than the brain surgeons that currently make up its PD. Reading the consent decree it seems to only apply to new hires (higher pay is only mentioned as part of the recruitment plan “for attracting and retaining a high quality and diverse work force”) rather than giving raises to the current crop of shitheads.

    Also, I’m surprised Lynch didn’t focus on the change that would have allowed Ferguson to get out of the decree altogether by dissolving its police force, regardless of who they brought in to fill the void. That alone would have been enough to break the deal.

    1. That’s a misaimed justification: The problem isn’t that the Ferguson PD lacks cops of sufficiently high quality to deserve the special treatment they get when accused of wrongdoing; the problem is that cops get that special treatment in the first place.

    2. the change that would have allowed Ferguson to … dissolv[e] its police force …. That alone would have been enough to break the deal.

      Why? A number of other places have done it, and it solves the problem by the most direct fashion possible.

    3. Every right-thinking liberal and progressive knows that the solution to any social problem is for the government to spend moar money.

      And they have the evidence that this always works. For example, education spending per student has tripled since the 1960s, and consider how well young Americans are indoctrinated versus their grandparents and great grandparents.

  5. The Rule of Law is so mysterious.

  6. I just ate an entire train, bro. the fucking tracks skimmed my tongue like steely eels.

    1. High Speed or Commuter? This is an important distinction.

        1. If it’s eels, it’s unagi. Surely that’s not a maglev.

          1. I’m a barbarian. I like to soak my sushi in a pasty MSG wasabi soup. It tends to slow down my chow. So shashimi is like a maglev, it goes quickly and you barely realize it was there at all.

            1. I also like to creep out my meal partners by eating up the rest of the (fake, radish-based) wasabi in one go, and letting my sinuses run out.

              I’m not a popular dinner guest with sushi-loving friends.

            2. And I spelled sashimi wrong twice now because I’m drunk and uncultured Western swine. But at least I’m not a weeaboo dweeb.

              1. I got you. I’ve just started the drink. I’ve come to the conclusion that being a functional alcoholic is the only way I can survive in a Trump/Cruz/Sanders world.

              2. (Not suggesting you are. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, except the high school chums who insisted their anime was better than Duckman.

                1. I actually have an BS in Asian Studies… but it was despite the nerd hordes.

        2. Unagi: Electric Boogaloo

  7. pioneers don’t roll wagons into the mud weeds anymo… so i guess all the fucking bitches survive on digital screech and shit

  8. Tamir Rice’s estate being sued over unpaid EMS bill. Maybe he should have to pay for the bullets, too.

    http://boingboing.net/2016/02/…..rices.html

    1. And pain and suffering for all the problems the poor officer has suffered since.

    2. The German expression for this is Herrschaft des Unrechts (Rule of Injustice). That’s how the regime of GDR is referred to in modern Germany.

    3. Surprised it’s only $500

    4. Ah, I see now. The cops were trying to spare the family the cost of the ambulance. Then that FBI jackass had to get involved.

      1. They protect and serve.

        1. Protect each other and serve you warrants.

    5. He’s was fucking twelve. He didn’t leave an estate.
      What the fuck do they care? If his *estate*sues and wins the taxpayers are on the hook and since when did any government give a fuck about their revenue source?

      1. Right up there with a $9,000 hospital bill for an illegal anal cavity search.

  9. Searching the text of the lawsuit produced no results for “Brown” or “Wilson.”

  10. “There were journalists there to ask questions, but to be blunt, they weren’t particularly helpful.”

    Given the trajectory of print and broadcast ‘news’, I’m guessing they are paying M/W or close to it for the ‘journalists’ they hire; if they aren’t cheap, they should be.
    It’s more likely that they were there to ‘paper the seats’; make it look like someone attended the presser.

    1. That’s what interns are for.

  11. So, is this the comments section that separates the racists from the… well… not racists?

      1. Nope. Just curious. Some people hate brown people more than the feds.

        1. I hate brown feds more than anyone. Well, the brown-shirt wearing sort. Not to be confused with browncoats.

          1. You aim to misbehave.

        2. “Some people hate brown people more than the feds.”

          We might get a visit from commie-kid this late, but Tony hasn’t been around and when he is this time of the day, he’s pretty wasted.

          1. I thought Tony was permanently wasted.

    1. In the sense that everyone who comments on H&R is ipso facto racist, yes.

      /sarc

  12. Exactly why is the acceptability of the cops in Ferguson dependent on paying them way more? Could it be ….. unions???

    Its funny watching the Attorney General leap into action immediately when something she deems unlawful happens, when it has previously appeared that she moves slower than a sloth to bring charges for others who have obviously broken many laws. Hmmmm.

  13. JWW|2.10.16 @ 11:27PM|#
    “Exactly why is the acceptability of the cops in Ferguson dependent on paying them way more? Could it be ….. unions???”

    You think union campaign dough gets there without some urging? I mean, those union dues don’t collect themselves and end up in D bank accounts by accident!

  14. bitch is complain about my toilet paper. i would punch his throat if I was not related to him. I would kill his arms until scream dough. if he was not my friend. WHAT THE FUCK IS that bitch compain about. i am about to punch his balls with my truck

    1. Tell him Venezuela is thattaway.

  15. Accidental justice. It’s bound to happen in a universe ungoverned by chaos and randomness.

  16. All these ceilings collapse on my brains

  17. So the taxpayers will fund a lawsuit wherein win or lose they will foot the bill and the perps will get off with pay again at the taxpayer’s expense.

    1. Brought to you by the same folks who have ducked charging that fucking hag with various felonies!
      Thanks, Obo! You’re a wonder!

  18. Taxpayer subsidy of at least $5K/car, subsidized battery factory in Nevada, and Tesla STILL manages to blow money out its ass:

    “Tesla quarterly loss triples, but company predicts profit ahead”
    […]
    “Tesla’s quarterly loss hit $320.4 million ($2.44 per share), up from $107.6 million (86 cents) during the same period of 2014. Losses for the entire year totaled $888.7 million, up from $294 million in 2014.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/business…..821684.php

    Not to worry; Musk predicts better times to come, especially if that hag gets elected. I’m sure he’s a major contributor to the ‘foundation’.

    1. BTW, when Tesla ends up a subject here, we typically get a visit from “Weapon”. And there is little doubt that Weapon is employed by Tesla or Tesla’s PR agency; Weapon has detailed (misleading) answers to any objection and any subject, all delivered in the approved ‘positive attitude’ voice.
      If you check the comments in the link, it looks like “Tau Particle” is the persona assigned to the Chron. Musk is not about to let the web go un-attended.

    2. And Instapundit constantly pimps this guy as some of business genius.

      I guess in a way he is, but it’s taking advantage of the government more than anything else.

    3. A few weeks ago I finally saw a tesla on the road.

      It looked boring. I mean “kind of sedan I drive” boring.

      At that price point, couldn’t you at least manage something that didn’t look like a dumpy commuter car?

      1. My buddy got rid of his Range Rover Sport (or “Hunk of Steaming Shit” as he calls it) and went on like a six month waiting list for his Tesla. Says the thing is absolutely incredible and practically drives itself.

        Strangely enough, they are fairly common for high-end cars down here in Houston. And none of this takes away from taxpayer subsidy bullshit.

  19. “Scott Shackford ?@SShackford 6h6 hours ago

    DON’T ASK HER ABOUT BEYONCE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

    There’s something extra-funny about this… completely out of context. Just like, Scott’s all “ENOUGH ABOUT BEYONCE!!! IS EVERYONE CRAZY?!” spontaneous-cultural-epiphany

    Also – its twitter… which is itself partly the reason for why everything is so “Wrong”. The planet is being reduced to thought-complexity of 140~ characters or less. ‘if it can’t be tweeted, why bother!? no one reads the details.’

  20. re = “Giving cops more money”

    “why would they agree to it? It has absolutely nothing to do with police reform’

    Notable, Scott, is that NYC pushed through a big police-budget boost on the back of claims of “Reform”

    I can only attribute it to the “never let a crisis go to waste”-theory of progressive government. Everything – EVERYTHING is an excuse to *spend more money*.

    Money is apparently a sign ‘something is being done’. Because money! See = the response to Flint. Its all about the scrill, zero about any actual audit of “Why Did This Happen” and actual *negative consequences for failure, misconduct, incompetence, cronyism*….

    Its crazy, but until someone says it out loud everyone seems perfectly happy to pretend it all makes sense. Because, Beyonce.

    1. It’s really one of those strange things about politics.

      Even though Democrats say they hate the police and all that, in reality, because of police (and prison) unions, they are obliged to give more and more money to them

      Conversely, even though they profess small government and what not, Republicans/conservatives love the police. Even though in turn, the police consider them terrorists.

  21. all my toes have numbers running over them like monkey s stealing my earlobes and eating my spaces

  22. the shadows break on the tiles under the falling mist
    where the girl waited
    as the axes of civilizations fell upon the bleeding and crying
    she looked apart for the heart
    when the asunders tripled and screamed under the bombs
    and angels fell and twisted inside humans trying to live
    as if life was like the tree from afar
    she waited no longer and
    plunged into the abyss
    flailing wailing and looking coolly
    into the sun of her new
    army.

    1. I have missed these, AC.

  23. Ms. Lynch & the DOJ have squandered a good opportunity to resolve the underlying issue. One can only presume she is quite ok with speed trap communities plundering all who cross their path. Increasing police salaries means they have to write more tickets to pay for those salaries. Right?

  24. “Something Lynch did emphasize that might be important to the conflict is that the DOJ worked with Ferguson city staff to create this agreement to be presented to the City Council. So that raises the question as to where components of the agreement that have nothing to do with reforming Ferguson police and courts came from.”

    Because no one has ever in the history of contracts tried to sneak in a provision after the final negotiation and before signature. And certainly the federal government has never attempted to strongarm another party in violation of every legal principle of contract regarding coercion and duress.

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