- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - A panel appointed to study social and economic issues following the unrest in Ferguson last year has approved almost 100 recommendations as part of a report that eventually will be sent to the governor.

Among the “calls to action” approved by the Ferguson Commission on Monday night was a measure supporting municipal court reform, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1O3DCgo ) reported. One measure said the Missouri Supreme Court should supervise local courts and that they be consolidated to an “appropriate number.”

This week’s recommendations followed a bill that Gov. Jay Nixon signed earlier this month, capping the amount of traffic fine revenue municipalities can take in as a share of their budgets. That legislation also sets higher standards for accreditation of police departments.

“We also gather this week with recognition of the successes that have been made,” said the Rev. Starsky Wilson, commission co-chairman. “The bill is an important step in addressing the systemic injustices that have occurred in our municipal courts.”

The panel’s “calls to action” were divided into five categories. They are racial equity and reconciliation; citizen-law enforcement relations; municipal courts and governance; child well-being and education equity; and economic inequity and opportunity.

Other measures passed by the commission include supporting giving minors who face criminal charges access to public defenders and recommending that the state attorney general serve as a special prosecutor in police use-of-force incidents that result in death or injury.

The commission will decide which of the calls to action, plus those that were previously approved, will be presented to Nixon as “signature priorities.” Nixon swore in commission members in 2014 and charged them with issuing a report with specific policy recommendations by September.

Last year’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, by a now-former Ferguson police officer, who is white, prompted months of protests in the area. A U.S. Justice Department investigation cleared the ex-officer of wrongdoing in Brown’s death, and a state grand jury declined to bring charges.


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

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