Ferguson, Missouri’s newly appointed municipal judge announced sweeping changes to the city’s court system on Monday, including the withdrawal of every arrest warrant issued in Ferguson prior to December 31, 2014, Reuters reports.
The highlight was positioned on Ferguson’s Municipal Courtroom system in wake of Brown’s dying and activists’ allegations that police focused the unarmed black teen just because he was strolling together with his good friend in the midst of the road. McCullin also ordered that defendants receive new court dates and alternative options for resolving their cases, such as paying a fine or performing community service, according to Reuters.
Well, today Municipal Court Judge Donald McCullin announced that any arrest warrants issued up until this year will be withdrawn and that pre-trial release conditions will be changed.
If a defendant continually fails to appear on their scheduled court date, an arrest warrant may be issued and/or a request made to the Director of Revenue to seek a setoff of the defendant’s tax return.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said the city council supports the changes to the municipal court.
The order also covers those incarcerated for minor traffic violations, those unable to pay fines, and restores driver’s license to people who have had their license revoked for not paying fines. “Many individuals whose license has been suspended will be able to obtain them and take advantage of the benefits of being able to drive”.
Ferguson became the focal point of a national debate about race and policing in August 2014, after then-city police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot and killed teenager Michael Brown, who is black.
Mr Wilson was not charged in the shooting, and the incident triggered nationwide protests and widespread complaints of mistreatment of blacks by police.
“It is meaningful and will have a real impact on the lives of many”, said St Louis-area lawyer Brendan Roediger, who has helped represent some protesters complaining of mistreatment by police and courts in Ferguson.