Officials in Ferguson, Missouri and the Department of Justice announced a tentative deal on Wednesday to overhaul the city’s embattled police force in an effort to avoid a costly court battle, reports USA Today.
The deal stems from systemic failures brought to light by the death of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by White police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. The shooting sparked ongoing nationwide protests over the use of deadly force in communities of color.
The agreement calls for the department to change its policies pertaining to the use of deadly force, and requires ethics and diversity training for officers and police officials, writes the news outlet.
The proposal, which must be ratified by the Ferguson City Council, comes 10 months after Justice’s denouncement of racially biased policing in the city detailed in a report that was prompted by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, by white officer Darren Wilson.
No criminal charges were filed against Wilson, who has since left the department, but the incident set off a national re-examination of law enforcement operations that continues more than 16 months after the shooting.
The agreement would, in part, revise the police department’s use of force policies with an emphasis “toward de-escalation and avoiding force — particularly deadly force — except where necessary, consistent with the full recognition of the sanctity of life,” according to a Justice letter to city officials, outlining the broad terms of the agreement.
The proposal also calls on Ferguson, a majority Black city, to hire more officers of color. As of now, only a small number of officers on the force are Black.
SOURCE: USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform