A Ferguson municipal court judge, named in a scathing U.S Justice Department report — which showed a pattern of bias in the city's police force and courts — was replaced Monday by a state judge, according to the Missouri Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court of Missouri today transferred Judge Roy L. Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, where he will be assigned to hear all of Ferguson’s pending and future municipal division cases," the state's highest court said in a statement. "Judge Richter will bring a fresh, disinterested perspective to this court’s practices and he is able and willing to implement needed reforms," Chief Justice Mary R. Russell said.
Richter will replace Judge Ronald Brockmeyer, whose law firm released a statement Monday saying he had informed the mayor and the city of Ferguson that he was resigning, according to NBC affiliate KDSK.
A Department of Justice report, prompted by the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, was released last week and uncovered a culture of racial bias in the police force.
The report also showed that racial prejudice was apparently pervasive in the court system, with black people 68 percent less likely to have their cases dismissed and far more likely to be hit with petty offenses.
Brockmeyer was specifically accused in the report of "significantly increasing court collections over the years,” sentencing people to jail for failure to pay a fine and asking for at least one offense against a relative to be dropped.
“Courts are a vital part of our democracy, and our court system is built on the trust of the citizens it serves. Today’s strong and appropriate actions by the Missouri Supreme Court are a solid step forward," said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in a statement Monday night.
The city of Ferguson's spokesperson, Jeff Small, told NBC News that the city had no comment on Brockmeyer's resignation.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt