Via New York Times: FERGUSON, Mo. — In the first major sign of change in this small city since last month's police killing of an unarmed black teenager, the Ferguson City Council said Monday that it would establish a citizen review board to provide guidance for the Police Department.
It also announced sweeping changes to its court system, which had been criticized as unfairly targeting low-income blacks, who had become trapped in a cycle of unpaid tickets and arrest warrants.
Municipal court fines are the city's second-highest source of revenue, leading many critics to argue that the authorities had a financial incentive to issue tickets and then impose more fees on those who did not pay.
Young black men in Ferguson and surrounding cities routinely find themselves passed from jail to jail as they are picked up on warrants for unpaid fines, one of the many simmering issues here that helped set off almost two weeks of civil unrest after the teenager, Michael Brown, 18, was killed by a white Ferguson officer on Aug. 9.