City That Ran Debtors’ Prison Will Have To Pay Millions to the Poor People It Jailed*
By Bryce Covert
The Ferguson, Missouri police department and municipal court building
Jennings, Missouri, which borders the city of Ferguson, where Michael Brown was shot by police, has agreed to pay $4.75 million to nearly 2,000 people who were put in jail because they couldn’t afford to pay the court fines and fees that they owed.
The death of Michael Brown shed a light on a region-wide moneymaking scheme to issue thousands of warrants for minor violations and traffic tickets, routinely throwing people in jail for not paying.
In what one of the lawyers who brought a lawsuit over the practice is calling “the first of its kind and truly historic,” the deal will end the city’s ability to jail people who can’t pay court debts as well as money bail, or allowing…
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