The St. Louis suburb where protests erupted following the death of an unarmed black teenager in August is set to hold its first city council meeting since the fatal police shooting.
Here’s what’s on the Ferguson, Mo., council’s agenda for Tuesday night:
• A citizen review board: The city on Monday night announced that a group of residents who are not currently part of local government will review Ferguson’s police department, which was heavily criticized in the weeks that followed the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson. The council is expected to discuss that board Tuesday evening.
The citizen review board will work with city officials and local law enforcement “in advising and reviewing operations and actions of the police department,” according to a news release distributed Monday by a public relations firm representing the city of Ferguson.
• Reducing fines: The city plans to get rid of a $25 administrative fee for towing vehicles, as well as a $50 warrant recall fee and a $15 notification fee, both of which would have previously been issued if a defendant didn’t appear in court. The changes are designed to make the city appear less reliant on fines and fees as a source of municipal revenue.
After Brown’s death, many raised concerns about Ferguson’s court system, saying it unfairly impacted residents who live in poverty.
• Changes to court procedures: The city also plans to repeal an ordinance that penalizes residents who miss court dates. Going forward, defendants who don’t appear in municipal court will also no longer be charged for it, nor will they face a fine, according to the news release.
“The overall goal of these changes is to improve trust within the community and increase transparency, particularly within Ferguson’s courts and police department,” Council member Mark Byrne said in a statement. “We want to demonstrate to residents that we take their concerns extremely seriously. That’s why we’re initiating new changes within our local police force and in our courts.”
The council meeting is scheduled to be held at Greater Grace Church, which can hold a fairly large crowd. It was also the site of a memorial held after Brown’s death, at which civil rights leader Al Sharpton was a speaker.
The council’s August meeting was postponed, and the city asked residents to send in feedback on postage-paid comment cards.
Brown was shot and killed by Wilson exactly one month ago, on Aug. 9. Protesters gathered in the suburban community after his death, sometimes clashing with police in the streets. Wilson, who is white, has not been spotted in public since his name was announced in connection with the shooting.
A day after Tuesday’s meeting, a group is expected to march on Interstate 70, shutting down the roadway in protest of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to not appoint a special prosecutor for the Brown case.
You can read Tuesday’s council agenda here: