On the heels of a scathing Justice Department report, the fraught city of Ferguson, Missouri, is already seeing some significant changes.
After Ferguson municipal judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer declared his resignation on Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court announced that starting next week and until further notice, all Ferguson municipal court cases will be reassigned to the circuit court “to help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported.
Brockmeyer was named by the DOJ last week for his participation in a system-wide scheme to generate revenue for the city of Ferguson by issuing unnecessary citations, especially to African-Americans. “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the city’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs,” the report stated. Brockmeyer will continue in his roles as prosecutor in Dellwood, Vinita Park and Florissant, and judge in Breckenridge Hills.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the court shakeup “a solid step forward” and promised to “continue to work with the Missouri Supreme Court and the legislature to ensure all municipal courts operate in the fair, transparent and accountable manner Missourians expect and deserve.”
The DOJ report issued on Wednesday marked the culmination of a months-long investigation into the Ferguson Police Department following the death of Michael Brown Jr. last summer. The department engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a forceful address Wednesday following the report’s release.
The report indicated that among other things, the police department fostered a culture of racial hostility. Additionally, it revealed that police and municipal court officials sent racist and misogynistic jokes in official city emails.
Later Wednesday, city leaders fired a police official and suspended two other officers in connection with the DOJ’s findings.
Additional reporting by Trymaine Lee