Ferguson spends itself into the poor-house defending cops' dirty "failure to comply" busts

Ferguson's cops aren't just notorious for being an invading domestic military force: long before that, they were notorious for "failure to comply" arrests, where (mostly brown) people who were minding their own businesses were arrested for refusing to show ID, move along, or following other orders from uniformed officers.

Never mind that the law doesn't require you to comply with an officer's orders unless you're under arrest, or in other very limited circumstances. The arrests brought money into the city's coffers and criminalized an entire class of people, including the protesters who came out in number in Ferguson.

Of course Ferguson's city lawyers have decided to fight — and, generally, lose — every one of these cases. They're private lawyers who bill the city by the hour, after all.

Stephanie Karr, Ferguson's chief prosecutor and a lawyer with Curtis, Heinz, Garrett and O'Keefe, defended the city's legal approach. Violations of law are "contrary to the public health, safety and welfare," she said in an email. "Therefore, the public interest is served by taking action to prevent further violations of the law by making offenders accountable."

Meanwhile, city leaders have bemoaned Ferguson's multi-million-dollar budget deficits and warned of significant staff and service reductions if voters did not approve tax increases in April.

Moreover, the city has been losing cases at a greater rate than its peers. Ferguson prosecutors received not-guilty verdicts in 40 percent of trials heard by the city judge over a 14-month period ending in February — the highest rate of not-guilty verdicts among similarly sized municipalities, according to data from the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator.

Legal bills mount as Ferguson stands by 'failure-to-comply' cases
[Stephen Deere/St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O'Keefe)