Readout of Justice Department Officials' Trip to Ferguson, Missouri
Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson released the following statement today regarding the latest visit to Ferguson, Missouri, by Justice Department officials:
“Members of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice have completed three days of meetings in Ferguson, Missouri, with a broad variety of individuals and community groups regarding the department’s findings in the investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and the next steps for institutional reform. The meetings generated thoughtful and constructive recommendations for changes to address the unconstitutional practices identified by the investigation. Community members were overwhelmingly committed to assist in the effort to achieve meaningful police and court reform as quickly as possible. In the coming weeks, department officials will continue to meet with these and other individuals, including Ferguson police officers, to solicit ideas for potential solutions.
“As department officials with the Civil Rights Division explained to the community groups and individuals with whom they met, the division looks forward to meeting in the coming weeks with Ferguson city leaders to begin to work collaboratively towards sustainable reform in the form of a court enforceable consent decree to achieve the necessary changes. If the city agrees to this process, the Department of Justice stands ready to meet with the city to begin negotiations. If the city does not agree to negotiate a consent decree, the Department of Justice retains the option of filing suit to ensure that the unconstitutional practices identified in our findings are remedied.
“During the meetings with community members and organizations, department officials saw a high level of constructive engagement, thoughtfulness and dedication to meaningful improvement of Ferguson’s police and court system. The department encourages the city to work with these well-intentioned and creative individuals and groups.”