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Ferguson City Manager, John Shaw, Resigns After Scathing DOJ Report

Ferguson's City Council voted unanimously for a "mutual separation agreement" with John Shaw, who served the city for eight years.
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Ferguson's city manager resigned Tuesday night after a scathing report by the Justice Department showed a culture of racism in the police department and city offices, according to a statement from the city.

Ferguson's City Council voted unanimously for a "mutual separation agreement" with John Shaw, who served the city for eight years, according to the statement.

"We appreciate John's service and commitment to the City of Ferguson for the past eight years," said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III. "The City Council and John Shaw feel as though it is the appropriate time for the City to move forward as it begins its search for a new City Manager," Knowles added.

"After much thought and prayer, I feel it is in the community's best interest that I step aside at this time,” Shaw said in a statement. He added that he had been working to implement “positive change” in the city.

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 detailed racist and discriminatory actions by Ferguson’s police force and court system.

In 2010, the city’s finance director wrote to Police Chief Tom Jackson that "unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year, it will be hard to significantly raise collections next year. What are your thoughts?", according to the Justice Department report.

The next year, when Jackson wrote to Shaw that court revenue in February was over $179,800, and that the total "beat our next biggest month in the last four years by over $17,000," Shaw responded: "Wonderful!" the report said.

In 2012, after a city councilmember complained that the city’s municipal court judge, Judge Brockmeyer, wasn’t listening to testimony or allowing all witnesses to testify before imposing judgment, and that he shouldn’t be reappointed, Shaw urged that the judge remain in place, arguing that, “[i]t goes without saying the City cannot afford to lose any efficiency in our Courts, nor experience any decrease in our Fines and Forfeitures," the report said. Brockmeyer resigned Monday.

Shaw, in his statement Tuesday, denied that his office played any part in targeting black people. "Any inferences of that kind from the (DOJ) report are simply false," the statement said.


— Elisha Fieldstadt