- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, Mo. (AP) - Citizens in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, have abruptly ended talks with the U.S. Department of Justice facilitators and city leaders after weeks of mediated talks over concerns about police tickets quotas and general policing.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1HfH1sC ) reports citizens who have accused police of racist practices walked out of a meeting on Monday. Talks began after an officer complained he was reprimanded for not meeting ticket quotas.

The police department denies the use of quotas.

In February, officer Joe St. Clair contacted the Rev. Phillip Duvall, a former pastor of the Fifth Missionary Baptist Church who is active locally in civil rights, to discuss his reprimand. Duvall, in turn, contacted the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Talks broke down when the language of a draft agreement was disputed by Duvall. He wanted to pull a passage from the Justice report on police practices in Ferguson, Missouri. Mayor Robert J. Doerr resisted because the passage uses the word “quota.”

There’s really nothing more to talk about,” he told reporters, while leaving City Hall. “That’s not anything we can bargain on.”

Duvall now says he plans to bring other concerns about the police department, including hiring practices, to the Justice Department’s attention.

Doerr declined to comment, but he did say in a statement that the city had worked in good faith to come to a resolution and that he was frustrated that the talks had ended.

“We will not allow grandstanding to rob our community of opportunity for growth and improvement,” the statement said.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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