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US Justice Department Announces Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Ferguson

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US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the US Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson after it rejected a previously negotiated agreement to reform its police.

Police officers take a protester into custody Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. - Sputnik International
Ferguson, US Justice Department Reach Deal on Law Enforcement Reform
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson after it rejected a previously negotiated agreement to reform its police, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a press conference.

"Today the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit in federal district court against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, alleging a pattern and practice of law enforcement conduct that violates the first, the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution and federal civil rights laws," Lynch stated on Wednesday.

In January, Ferguson reached an agreement with the Justice Department after 26 weeks of negotiations on undertaking reforms in the city’s police depart.

The agreement stipulates creating a civilian board to review complaints filed against the police, and allows videotaping in situations when police officers ask for consent to conduct a search.

On February 9, the Ferguson City Council took a vote approving the consent decree, but suggested seven amendments, including extending the reform deadlines.

Lynch said the Justice Department is suing the city because negotiations were already concluded.

"The agreement between the parties was that the City Council would review the agreement that had been struck by both sides, and decide whether to accept or reject it, and last night’s vote was a rejection of that," she explained.

Lynch concluded the Justice Department will proceed by the way of litigation and anticipates the city to respond in court.

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