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City of Ferguson and Department of Justice announce proposed settlement

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FERGUSON, MO - The Justice Department and officials from Ferguson, Missouri, have reached a tentative agreement on reforms in the police department and court system, according to a document released Wednesday by the city.

The city posted the proposed consent decree on its website and asked for residents' input on the possible agreement. The deadline for comments is February 9, Ferguson officials said.

Ferguson will also hold three public meetings in February.

"As in all negotiations, neither side received everything that they requested, and both sides made concessions in order to reach an agreement," Ferguson officials said. "This proposed agreement represents the best agreement that the city's representatives were able to obtain for the citizens of Ferguson."

In March 2015, the Justice Department determined the Ferguson Police Department had demonstrated a "pattern and practice" of discrimination against African-Americans, targeting them disproportionately for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.

The report said some Ferguson police officers saw residents as "sources of revenue," leading to practices that federal investigators said disproportionately targeted black residents.

The 102-page report also found evidence of racist jokes sent by some Ferguson police officers and court officials.

The Justice investigation came in the wake of the August 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Brown was black and Wilson is white.

The department made 26 recommendations, including:

-- Ferguson Police provide training to ensure officers aren't using bias in policing

-- Officers practice community policing by getting out of cars, getting to know communities

-- Focus police stops, searches and ticketing on protecting the public, as opposed to fundraising for the city

Also in March, the Justice Department declined to bring civil rights charges against Wilson in the death of Brown, who was not armed. Brown's death prompted days of protests and riots in Ferguson and a national conversation about the role of race in police interactions with citizens.

Justice Department investigators concluded Brown was moving toward the officer when Wilson fired. A grand jury also declined to indict Wilson, who left the force in November 2014.

"The City Council will accept public comments in person on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. and Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. Those who have questions are urged to submit questions in writing in advance; priority will be given to responding to those questions submitted in writing in advance. The meetings on February 2 and February 9 will be held at Ferguson City Hall. The meeting on February 6 will be held at the Ferguson Community Center."

Read the full agreement here.