The Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday in an effort to end what it described as patterns of constitutional violations by the city's police department and municipal court. The decision comes one day after Ferguson rejected a negotiated deal that would have set the St. Louis suburb on a path toward reforming its police department. The original deal was arranged over 11 months after the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division released a damning report last March chronicling routine patterns of constitutional abuses in the city, where an overwhelmingly white police force preyed on black residents who many officers saw 'less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.'
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.