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Federal judge approves Ferguson police and court reform agreement

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A federal judge has approved an agreement between the city of Ferguson and the U.S. Justice Department aimed at improving policing and courts in the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was killed.

The agreement calls for sweeping changes in the city where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by police. The hearing Tuesday, where people will get one last chance to weigh in, is not required by law but was requested by both the Justice Department and Ferguson leaders.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry issued her ruling Tuesday after a public hearing of several hours in St. Louis. More than two dozen people spoke, and many others submitted written comments.

Dozens of St. Louis-area residents have testified in a public hearing hosted by a federal judge about whether Ferguson’s settlement with the U.S. Justice Department can move forward.

U.S. District Catherine Perry heard Tuesday from those opposed and supportive of the settlement. Thirty-two people are scheduled to speak and 23 others submitted written comments.

Ferguson has been under scrutiny since 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.

A grand jury and the Justice Department cleared Wilson. But a separate Justice Department investigation found racial bias and profiling in Ferguson’s criminal justice system, prompting the settlement.