The “Ferguson Effect”: Restricting Law Enforcement’s Ability to Protect Americans

On April 5, 2016, the voters of Ferguson, Missouri, rejected a proposed property tax increase that would have funded the city’s settlement agreement with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Now personnel cuts are being prepared, and bankruptcy looms. The police department, in particular, must transform its operations, subjecting itself to unprecedented new oversight and surrendering much of its authority to the federal government. Rather than resisting the Justice Department’s overreach, the Ferguson City Council has capitulated to pressure from an array of advocacy groups and interest groups. Emboldened, these radical elements are now flexing their muscles, requiring the city’s police department to cede virtually all power to the consent decree monitor and federal government overseers.

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