Ferguson Community Responds to City Council’s Proposed Program Changes Aimed at Reducing Concerns in the Wake of Mike Brown’s Murder
Ferguson City Council Proposes Month-Long Warrant Recall, Creates Civilian Review Board, Community Investments
Activists: The People of Ferguson Have Spoken and the Ferguson City Council has Begun to Listen
Ferguson, MO — The Ferguson City Council announced this afternoon that in consideration of widespread community concerns in the wake of the August 9th murder of Michael Brown they will be implementing several significant changes to the way the city does business. In a statement issued late this afternoon the City Council laid out plans for a warrant recall, a civilian-run review board, and investments in community infrastructure.
Members of Ferguson-born grassroots coalition, Hands Up United welcome these programs and reforms and hope to see them implemented not only in the municipality of Ferguson but also county-wide:
“The people of Ferguson have spoken and the Ferguson City Council has begun to listen. We are optimistic about the Council’s plans to implement a package of reforms that begin to address longstanding community concerns about the Ferguson Police Department and the City’s fiscal investment in bench warrants that have become an informal tax on poor black people.
The organizations in our coalition will be monitoring the implementation of this package. Repealing these fines and fees is important. We must ensure that those currently affected by them are offered real relief. To that end, we will be making sure that the Warrant Recall Program is a process that is effective and easily accessible for residents who need to use it." —Derek Laney, Organizer at MORE and Hands Up United
"While the announcement of a Review Board is encouraging, we cannot return to “business as usual” after the Warrant Recall Program has ended. Black people continue to be stopped, fined, charged and jailed disproportionately. This is unacceptable
“And we’ve seen troubling lessons from municipalities around the country that have toothless civilian oversight programs. The Ferguson Civilian Review Board must be endowed with real power to be effective. We encourage the Council to ensure that the Board has real subpoena power, is made up of a body that is representative of the local community, and has the ability to review policy.
“Finally, it is important to note that Ferguson is a small town in a county of over 91 municipalities. Many of those towns continue to rely on broken policies that create modern-day debtor’s prisons for Black and Brown residents of St. Louis County. This is an important first step, but we need to see change county-wide.” —Montague Simmons, Chair of Organization for Black Struggle and founder at Hands Up United