In avoidance of a long and expensive court fight with the U.S. Department of Justice, the city of Ferguson has agreed to a package of federally recommended reforms to the ways in which its police department operates. The agreement comes after the release of a DOJ report last year that laid out the racial unfairness and misconduct of the city’s cops in harsh detail.
Some of the changes laid out in the agreement, known as a “consent decree,” are surprising in their ambition: officers will be required to inform people of their right not to be searched without a warrant before they ask if a person consents to a search, for instance, and they’ll have to video record the whole exchange to prove that it happened. Others are sort of laughable, such as the department’s agreement to stop making warrantless arrests without probable cause—arrests it never should have been making in the first place.
The reforms also include the repeal of the city’s jaywalking ordinances, which were used almost exclusively to arrest black people, and require new training on “bias-free policing.” The full 131-page decree is available here via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The agreement requires approval of the Ferguson City Council before it will take effect. The council will hold three public hearings on the measures before it takes a vote next month, the New York Times reports.