Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What's the Cost of Reform? in Ferguson, It May Be $1,335/Hour

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What's the Cost of Reform? in Ferguson, It May Be $1,335/Hour

Article excerpt

After the US Justice Department released a scathing report on conduct by members of the Ferguson, Mo., police department, changes must be made if the city wishes to avoid a lawsuit.

Reform can be expensive. In the case of Ferguson, it may be about $1,335 an hour.

In order to negotiate and possibly enact the changes required by the Justice Department, the Ferguson City Council unanimously decided to hire attorney Dan K. Webb to head the charge. His hourly rate is nearly double Missouri's highest attorney billing rate last year, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and will not include any expenses and fees of Mr. Webb's other employees who may contribute to the case.

While the reforms required by the Justice Department are extensive, some critics argue that hiring such a high profile lawyer is fiscally irresponsible for the city of Ferguson. So is it irresponsible, or is it simply necessary to undergo the transformative reform necessary to meet the government's requirements?

The reforms come in response to a report released by the Justice Department exploring police conduct within the Ferguson police department following the shooting death of Michael Brown last year. The investigation revealed a history of targeting members of the African-American community, which lead the Justice Department's demands that the city address issues of racial bias and profiling within the system.

The city decided to hire Webb behind closed doors, and only recently released details of his pay. Webb has a history of working on high profile cases, including the New York Stock Exchange, Philip Morris, and Microsoft. He was also involved in multiple government corruption cases, including that of John Poindexter during the Iran- Contra scandal.

Webb will work closely with the Justice Department to negotiate and enact the necessary changes to promote department-wide reform, as per the investigation. …

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