Judge resigns, Ferguson cases moved after scathing DOJ report

(CNN)Ferguson’s municipal judge has resigned and all the city’s court cases are getting moved after the U.S. Justice Department said the court participated in unlawfully targeting African-Americans.

« To help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division, the Supreme Court of Missouri today transferred Judge Roy L. Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, where he will be assigned to hear all of Ferguson’s pending and future municipal division cases, » the Supreme Court said in a statement Monday.

« Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis, » Chief Justice Mary R. Russell said in the statement.

The announcement came the same day Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned as Ferguson’s judge.

« Mr. Brockmeyer recognizes that the Department of Justice report, as well as recent media reports, regardless of their accuracy or validity, have diminished the public’s confidence in the Ferguson Municipal Court, » his attorney Bert Fulk said in a statement.

« Mr. Brockmeyer believes that it is paramount to begin immediately on promoting the public’s confidence in the Ferguson Municipal Court. Promoting the public confidence in the Ferguson Municipal Court will help Ferguson begins its healing process. »

    Just about every branch of Ferguson government — police, Municipal Court, City Hall — participated in « unlawful » targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded.

    The millions of dollars in fines and fees paid by black residents served an ultimate goal of satisfying « revenue rather than public safety needs, » the Justice Department found.

    Justice report finds systematic discrimination by police in Ferguson

    Its report detailed how Ferguson operated a vertically integrated system — from street cop to court clerk to judge to city administration to city council — to raise revenue for the city budget through increased ticketing and fining.

    The DOJ’s probe came after public outcry over the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in August. Wilson, who was not indicted on any charges, has resigned from the police department.

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