*The federal government filed a 56-page civil lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Ferguson, Mo. alleging that, 18 months after the police shooting of Michael Brown, the city’s police and court system continue to violate black residents’ civil rights.
According to Washington Post, the lawsuit says these “ongoing and pervasive” violations come from the city’s use of law enforcement to generate revenue, echoing the findings of the Justice Department’s investigation into the city in 2014.
“Residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights — the rights guaranteed to all Americans — for decades,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said during a news conference Wednesday. “They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleges that Ferguson’s police department and municipal courts engage in an unconstitutional “patterns and practices” of using force without legal justification and “engaging in racially discriminatory law enforcement conduct.”
In this suit, the federal government alleges that these habits stem from the city’s failure to properly train and supervise its law enforcement officers.
Under powers granted to the federal government by legislation passed after the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, the Justice Department can force police agencies to undergo reforms if it concludes a department’s current policies permit civil rights violations, and can sue a municipality to force such changes if city officials do not cooperate.
The negotiations stem from the federal investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man whose death prompted nationwide protests, as well as a parallel investigation into the city police force’s “patterns and practices.” The Ferguson probe is one of more than two dozen such investigations into police departments conducted by the Justice Department under the Obama Administration, and the city joins at least two other police agencies currently in litigation.