The U.S. government and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are tired of waiting on Ferguson to clean up its police department. Today the feds filed a lawsuit against the Missouri City for unconstitutional police misconduct after the Ferguson City Council changed the terms of a deal it had been negotiating with the Justice Department for the last seven months.
The Department of Justice’s top civil rights prosecutor, Vanita Gupta, had made it clear that since city negotiators had already agreed on the terms, anything short of a vote for approval would result in a lawsuit. Dan Webb, the city’s lawyer, said this week that if the deal was rejected, there was “no chance the D.O.J. will not file a lawsuit.”
When the City Council refused to sign the deal Tuesday night, they were fully aware they would bring on a federal lawsuit that would be more expensive to fight than the cost of reforming the police department. They declined the opportunity to give a statement to the press following the lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Webb estimates the lawsuit will cost between $4 and $8 million.
“The residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed to all Americans, for decades. They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer,” Attorney General Lynch said.
The residents of Ferguson should not be forced to wait any longer. https://t.co/f6SIjOqWq0
— AG Loretta Lynch (@LorettaLynch) February 10, 2016
She called the violations of the city against it African-American residents “egregious” and “routine.”
In March, the Justice Department issued a 102-page report with their findings of racial discrimination and targeting of black residents, which some officers considered “sources of revenue.” Every instance of excessive force was against an African-American, the report says. Racism was present in nearly every level of the force–it was institutionalized and rampant in the texts and emails uncovered in the federal investigation.