Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned on March 11 in the aftermath of a scathing Department of Justice investigative report on Ferguson. Here he appears on August 11, when he was pulled before the public by activists Zaki Baruti, Brother Anthony Shahid and James Clark to deny false reports that a witness to the killing of Michael Brown Jr. had been killed by police.

After a Department of Justice investigative report revealed the Ferguson police chief working directly with the city manager and municipal courts to raise revenue for the city through issuing tickets, all of these officials have resigned, one by one, and the Missouri Supreme Court has stripped the city of administration of its municipal court.

Ronald Brockmeyer, the municipal judge in Ferguson, John Shaw, its city manager, and Police Chief Thomas Jackson now have all resigned in the aftermath of the report, issued on March 4.

“A fish rots from the head down,” said state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, who was active in Ferguson protests. “The DOJ report revealed that the instructions came from the top. Make up the rules. Make sure your friends are exempt.  Arrest and fine all the black people.”

She suggested that Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III should be next to go. “Your move, mayor," Chappelle-Nadal said in a statement.

Ferguson municipal court cases were transferred to Judge Roy L. Richter of the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri. Richter, who will begin hearing cases on March 16, will also have wide latitude to reform Ferguson's court procedures. 

"Judge Richter will bring a fresh, disinterested perspective to this court's practices, and he is able and willing to implement needed reforms," Chief Judge Mary Russell said in a statement.

The court also is assigning staff from its state courts administrator’s office to review Ferguson municipal court practices and to assist Richter in making necessary changes.

“Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis,” Russell said.

Brendan Roediger of the Saint Louis University law clinic encouraged the court to make systemic reforms.

"It's the supervisory authority that we've been asking the Supreme Court to utilize all along," Roediger said. "I certainly don't believe that Brockmeyer is the worst municipal court judge. I hope the Supreme Court uses this power to look at other courts and to take similar measures with other courts."

Brockmeyer also is out as prosecutor of Dellwood, and on indefinite leave as city prosecutor in Florissant. He remains city prosecutor in Vinita Park, and his status as municipal judge in Breckenridge Hills is under review.

Richter, the appeals judge who will hear cases from Ferguson, chairs the Municipal Judge Education Committee and supports the work being pushed by the St. Louis County Municipal Court Improvement Committee. In a January 14 letter to the volunteer group, he wrote, "I am a firm believer that those within the system are in a better position to propose and enact positive improvements than to have 'improvements' come from the outside."

The group, comprised mostly of court personnel, has drafted a series of voluntary reforms, including making volunteer lawyers available for defendants and encouraging the use of community service instead of fines when defendants can't pay. It also wants to draft uniform procedures for payments plans, which are required in some circumstances by a new Supreme Court rule that takes effect in July.

Advocates for municipal court defendants, such as Roediger and Thomas Harvey of the Arch City Defenders, say the reforms proposed by the court improvement committee don't go far enough. The two attorneys were in Jefferson City on Monday, March 9 asking that all municipal court cases be transferred to state courts, where professional judges are more familiar with court procedures.

"There's also a judge available at all times, so people won't be sitting for days at a time without having the ability to have bail reviewed," Roediger said. 

Roediger and Harvey are representing plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits against municipal courts, mostly in North County. Attorney General Chris Koster has also sued cities that violate the state law limiting how much revenue they can take in from court fines and fees. State auditor Tom Schweich announced a review of several municipal courts, including Ferguson, in October – it's not clear how his death will affect those audits.

Legislative efforts are also under way to reduce the limit on court fines and fees from 30 percent of a city's budget to as low as 10 percent. In September, Ferguson passed its own ordinance limiting municipal court revenue to 15 percent of its general fund budget. The city appears to be slightly above that self-imposed limit for fiscal year 2015.

Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones also announced that Dellwood's municipal court will be granting "full amnesty" for all traffic tickets issued before April 11, 2012 – the last day that the tiny city had its own police department. The amnesty program will be effective March 20. 

Read the DOJ report at http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/ferguson_police_department_report_1.pdf.

Rachel Lippmann of St. Louis Public Radio (news.stlpublicradio.org) contributed to this report.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

(15) comments

REALIST

From Troy MO all the way to I-270 & HWY 40 I saw six different vehicles pulled over by the police on Sunday 3/15/15. Every citizen pulled over was white along with the white police officers.
Gosh I wonder why?????? No man its profiling according to the ferguson report. Surely the white population in those area are around 67%.
Guess the whites will be out looting and protesting.

It was early in the morning. Cops going after the people going to church. The nerve of those cops!!

REALIST

Pine Lawn is the most racist city based upon giving out tickets to black people if Ferguson claims of police and the city is raising revenue. Pine Lawn is also ran by all Blacks. What gives???????

REALIST

Black men are 6% of population in USA. 1 in 3 black men will go to prison at some point in their life. The percentage of "hard working" black men is unfortunately quite small, as more go to prison than graduate college. The social injustice is what is being done to themselves in spite of the opportunities for education and careers for those that want to achieve something. Stop avoiding working, and waiting on a rap or NBA career, and do something with your lives.

Jack Thompson

When's the last time you heard those two jive-assses in the White House, Obama and Holder, tell the blacks in Ferguson, Missouri to behave themselves for a change? Never. That's because in the eyes of these two black-community-asss-kissers, the problems in Ferguson, Missouri don't have ANYTHING to do with the behavior of the blacks. It's all the police officers' fault. This is the same stupid mentality that the jive-asss blacks on the streets of Ferguson have. And we have these two goofballs running the country. Obama can't even bring himself to admit that the terrorists in the Middle East are Muslims or have anything to do with Islam either.

abnrgr

Well well. Looks like the race war or civil war the pillow biter wants is about to happen.
You do not give things like countries to the type of people running our country now. The upper level high order functions do not have empathy built in. There is no feelings for others. Think about it for a moment. Has anyone seen a black man and woman walking down the "screet" holding hands or arms around their girl (minus the crotch)? I think not. I hate to see people die but Ferguson is like any place where there hundreds of them. It could go mega anytime if someone fails to get their "fotie" or fails to receive after saying 'gibsmedat". These comment below are hardly different than most sites. God bless Ferguson non black population. "Escape from NY" is all you have to look forward to. "A number One"

jameszhang5307

At this point, the Ferguson PD should just pack up and leave.

The treatment police officers get from liberals in this country is sickening. As if anyone would want to stay on the force after the hatchet job the liberal media, Obama, Holder, and Sharpton do to them!

Can we move on and stop wasting our energy on this Ferguson drama? While the media focuses on this non-sense, the US economy is burning. Many of our citizens have had their jobs taken away along with their health insurance. The middle class is shrinking and its not getting any better.

Obama has destroyed our economy. Everyone is under-employed and can’t afford to live. We must now purchase health insurance we cannot afford and do not want or need (mine is $450/month… contrast this to my $25/month auto insurance from Insurance Panda… or my $12/month renters insurance from Eagle… both private-enterprise!)

When we elected President Obama, weren’t we promised “hope and change”?

Officer Wilson did his job. The criminal (Michael Brown) defiantly disregarded the law and orders in a physical confrontation. I’m sorry he had to die, but he should have realized the risk involved with attacking a police officer after committing a robbery!

Prayers to these Ferguson officers. Respect the police, America!

pbtruth

I heard a lady say she from Ferguson say she was Ferguson proud. I now know what she meant. More dead cops.
Obama and Holder must really be happy. They have made it a right for blacks to kill white cops. And the cops better not fight back or they will try and crucify the police officer using the full force of the federal government. Either leave black criminals a lone to do their thing or you will pay for it

Shenango

Animals. What race were the officers? You jammed it down everyone's throats that the thug Brown was Negro, why aren't you pointing out the race of the officers as well? Want to hazard a guess as to the race of the shooter? Turn the city over to the jungle dwellers, see how much better things will be.

REALIST

The future I envision is a total downfall of that region. Its out of control with no real cure. It is diseased with lazy, uneducated, lost, poor attituted, government reliant people.

Ralloh

Time to bring back segregation. Whites and blacks can not live together. Let blacks police themselves and solve their own problems.

djm159

Thank you Eric Holder, Barack Obama and Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton. There has never been a problem with the police in Ferguson, it's the residents. They're savages, and have no idea how to behave in a civilized society. Michael Brown was a bully thug who threatened a police officer and put his life in danger after he performed a strong-arm robbery. He got what he asked for when he tried to steal the officer's gun. He was not an innocent, unarmed teenager. He was a huge man who tried to hurt a policeman, that never ends well. Darren Wilson is the hero, not the punk, arrogant "victim." All these morons know how to do is loot, steal and create mayhem. Since plantations are out, other than the democrat plantation, build a wall around the city, let the white folks move out and disband the police force and let them live in their lawless wonderland, perhaps the indicted Eric Holder could be the mayor, and let them live within the walls and not leave; at least the rest of America will be safe. If that doesn't work, carpet bomb the town and everyone in it.

Snake Pliskin

The entirely predictable result compliments of Sheik Barack Hussein, his creature, Eric Holder, and their sycophants in the "press." "The Cambridge police acted stupidly" "America is a nation of cowards" etc. Forward!

Deepcow

All whites should leave the city of Ferguson, blacks will not accept any whites in authority. Leave all the policing, infrastructure maintenance and governing to the blacks. Make the city a white no-go zone, see how well that works out.

Reginaldboynton

stay tuned for next week, a rag-tag brigade of welfare-apes, adorned in berets, and a 'general' with medals covering his ghetto designed outfit driving around in a smashed up Range Rover

potter

Seems clear that it's not city management that is the problem; it's the residents.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.