On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, that alleges a pattern and practice of law enforcement and conduct that violates first, fourth, and fourteenth amendment rights.

"We intend to aggressively prosecute this case," AG Lynch told reporters during a press conference announcing the lawsuit Wednesday. "And we intend to prevail."

The news comes one day after Ferguson's city council voted to add seven amendments to the negotiated agreement, which aims to improve the way police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb. The Justice Department's been negotiating with Ferguson for 26 weeks, according to Vanita Gupta, who heads the federal agency's Civil Rights Division.

"The Ferguson City Council has attempted to unilaterally amend the negotiated agreement," Gupta said in a statement. "Their vote to do so creates an unnecessary delay in the essential work to bring constitutional policing to the city, and marks an unfortunate outcome for concerned community members and Ferguson police officers."

Unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown became the catalyst for this case when Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer, fatally shot him on August 9, 2014. On August 11, the Justice Department announced an investigation into the killing. One month later, in September, the DOJ announced a probe into the police department that supplied the killer.  

In March, the DOJ released the results of those investigations. They did not find sufficient reason to indict Wilson, but they did decide to hold the city of Ferguson accountable for despicable, discriminatory, racist behavior.


Attorney General Loretta Lynch

photo: Flickr via U.S. Embassy London

Following the release of the report, the DOJ and the city of Ferguson entered into months of negotiations to address the city's fucked up behavior. A deal between the city and the DOJ was finally announced in January.

The city then tried to amend the deal. Now, they’re getting sued.

During a press conference announcing the lawsuit, a reporter asked Lynch why the lawsuit was filed so swiftly. "[The people of Ferguson] have waited decades for justice," Lynch said. "They should not be expected to wait any longer."