United States v. City of Ferguson
In September 2014, the Department of Justice opened an investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The investigation focused on allegations that Ferguson law enforcement engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution and federal statutory law. On March 4, 2015, DOJ announced the results of the investigation, finding that FPD's police and municipal court practices systematically violate the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. DOJ determined that FPD's approach to law enforcement is unduly focused on revenue generation and that its practices both reflect and exacerbate existing race bias. As a result, Ferguson's law enforcement practices discriminate against African Americans and decrease trust between the Ferguson community and law enforcement, hampering FPD's ability to ensure public safety. On March 17, 2016, the parties jointly filed a proposed consent decree in federal court to address the conduct that DOJ’s investigation found. On April 19, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri approved and entered the parties’ jointly-filed consent decree. The documents here provide more information about the investigation, DOJ’s findings, and the consent decree.