Lawsuit accuses municipalities of targeting the poor

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, August 10 2016 Aug 10, 2016 Wednesday, August 10, 2016 2:03:00 PM CDT August 10, 2016 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal lawsuit accuses 13 north St. Louis County municipalities of a coordinated police and court effort to target poor people, most of them black.

The nonprofit legal organization ArchCity Defenders and the law firm Arnold & Porter announced the suit Wednesday. It alleges that municipalities use fines and fees as a "money-making scheme."

ArchCity Defenders director Thomas Harvey said the goal of the lawsuit is to end what he calls a "debtors' prison" system.

The suit was filed Tuesday, the second anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The ensuing protests raised concerns about treatment of blacks in north St. Louis County. Several municipal court reforms have been instituted in the county and statewide following Brown's death.

Ferguson is not named in the suit.

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