Ferguson mayor: City told DOJ agreement no sure thing

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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) –¬†Ferguson’s mayor says city leaders warned U.S. Department of Justice negotiators last month that they couldn’t guarantee approval of a plan to address the agency’s scathing review of Ferguson’s courts and police.

The Justice Department sued the St. Louis suburb Wednesday, a day after its City Council approved a revised settlement the DOJ said amounted to rejection. Ferguson leaders say the city couldn’t afford the original settlement.

Mayor James Knowles III told The Associated Press on Friday he was surprised the DOJ didn’t tell the city which changes were unacceptable before suing. He says the agency knew Ferguson officials wanted community input about the settlement.

DOJ spokeswoman Dena Iverson declined comment Friday, but the agency has long said the settlement _ the result of seven months of negotiations with Ferguson _ was sought to avoid a lawsuit.